Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current, March 04, 2015, Image 13

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Section B
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
South Lane County Sports and Recreation
Contact Sports, 942-3325 or e-mail
Junction City by inches
Lions’ season ends in overtime heartbreaker
The Cottage Grove Sentinel
Much like the unseasonably warm
weather, March Madness also came ear-
ly this year. Cottage Grove and Junction
City delivered a dramatic fi nish to their
play-in game for the state playoffs on
Saturday. The Tigers prevailed 41-39 in
overtime, but not before a miraculous
series of events in the closing moments
left both teams on the brink.
Trailing by two with 14 seconds to
play, Cottage Grove inbounded from its
own baseline and pushed the ball past
midcourt, only to have it stolen away by
Junction City. But Taylor Sayles some-
how forced a Tiger turnover, dribbled
the ball to just outside of the 3-point line
and launched a would-be game winner
that rattled off the rim at the buzzer.
“We had a play to get something go-
ing, but it didn’t happen the way we
drew it up,” said the Cottage Grove
senior. “I’ve never dreamed of taking a
last-second shot like that, and it’s not
something you can practice for. I just
heard everyone screaming for me to
The fi nal sequence capped a gripping
back-and-forth in which both teams
had opportunities to win. Junction City
held a seven-point edge with fi ve min-
utes left in the fourth quarter but did
not score again in regulation. And the
Lions had multiple leads of three points
or more in the extra period.
In the end, however, season-long
themes of turnovers and impatience bit
the Lions when they could least afford
it. Katarina Thompson took a steal in
for a layup to give the Tigers a 40-39
photo by Matt Hollander
Please see Girls Basketball, Page 2B
With time running out, Taylor Sayles gave the Lions one last shot at
fi nish strong
at state, set
the stage for
Lions fi nish 12th, have
three individual placers
The Cottage Grove Sentinel
ottage Grove came within two
spots of its goal to fi nish in the
top 10 at this past weekend’s state wres-
tling tournament, held at the Veteran’s
Memorial Coliseum in Portland. How-
ever, with fi ve of their six qualifi ers ex-
pected to return, the Lions are poised to
accomplish even more next year.
“There were a few things that could
have gone our way and didn’t, but over-
all I think we won more matches that
we weren’t suppose to,” said Cottage
Grove coach Kyle Temple, who had to
make a brief detour back to Albany for
the birth of his child after initially ar-
riving with the team on Thursday.
Crook County ran away with the
team title by outdistancing second-
place Henley, 327-165.5. It was, how-
ever, a very competitive race for teams
vying for the top 10, as just 23 points
separated places nine through 14.
“We knew that it would be hard to
fi nish in the top 10, but I feel that we
reached our potential this season,” said
junior Bryce Allen, who was Cottage
Grove’s only returning member from
last year’s state team that placed 22nd.
“We’d like to see more qualify for state
next year, and that’s certainly possible
with how many on our team fi nished
fi fth (just outside of qualifying) at re-
After looking at his 120-pound
bracket, Allen was not optimistic about
his chances to place — especially after
losing his opening match. But he got a
surge in confi dence when he avenged
a loss from earlier in the year to North
Valley’s Ricky Esparza in the consola-
tion bracket.
“Once I beat him, I was determined
to place,” said Allen, who rode that
momentum to fi nish on the podium in
Andrew Bordeaux placed fourth at
160 pounds and was Cottage Grove’s
photo by Jo Wheat/ J Wheat Photogrpahy
Cottage Grove's Bryce Allen (top) beat Sweet Home's Anthony Hardee 6-3 en route to a sixth place fi nish at the OSAA 4A Wrestling Tourna-
ment on Saturday. Crook County won the team title with 327 points; Cottage Grove was 12th with 45 points.
highest fi nisher. Bordeaux, who was
seeded third, breezed through his fi rst
two opponents before facing two state
champions in the semifi nals and conso-
lation fi nal.
“I could have been more defensive
in my last two matches but I was still
happy about fi nishing fourth,” said
With the top three in his weight class
set to graduate, Bordeaux hopes to go
undefeated and win the state champi-
onship next year.
“This tournament taught me that I
can stick with kids at the highest level,”
he said. “I’m just as good as them. I
just have to bring the right mindset."
Andrew’s twin brother, Alan, placed
sixth at 152 pounds. Cottage Grove’s
other qualifi ers included Tanner Her-
bert at 195 pounds, Shawn Farrell at
220 pounds and Adam Lamb at 285
Wrestling in the girls' tournament,
Katie Dennis and Mae Locke placed
second and third, respectively.
The clock was both friend and foe of
Dennis during the tournament. In her
semifi nal match, she pinned Sisters'
Cheyenne Sproat with one second left
in the third period but was pinned by
Hood River Valley's Payton Rigert with
one second left in the fi rst period.
"When you’re winning it's kind of
a blur," said Dennis. "But you're defi -
nitely aware of the clock when you're
fi ghting off your back and everyone is
shouting 'short time.'"
While many Lions brought signifi -
cant wrestling experience to the team,
there was a lot of novelty for the team
this season: the Boredaux’s competed
at Churchill last year; Lamb is a fresh-
man: and it was coach Kyle Temple’s
fi rst season leading the program.
Temple is optimistic about this
group’s potential to move up at state
next year, but he knows that some of
the senior-laden programs that were
ahead of Cottage Grove this year will
merely reload with young talent.
"The priority for right now," he said,
"is to have a solid off-season. If we
commit to Olympic-style wrestling, we
can get in 50 to 75 more matches, and
we won’t be shell-shocked when we go
up against year-round programs."
Athlete of the
Andrew Bordeaux
photo by Jo Wheat / J Wheat Photography
When one door closed, another one opened for Murray
Michael Murray stepped out of his comfort zone for his fi rst
varsity coaching assignment, this year with Cottage Grove
The Cottage Grove Sentinel
hen Cottage Grove Athletic Director Dave
Presley approached Michael Murray this
past fall about a potential role in the girls’ basket-
ball program, Murray — who was then consider-
ing returning to Marist for a second season as its
J.V. boys’ coach — welcomed the challenge of his
fi rst varsity assistant job. He was less sure, how-
ever, about coaching girls for the fi rst time ever.
“I knew there were high hopes for the program
and they had a great player in Conner Borigo, but
that was about it,” Murray recalled. “I’ve always
considered myself more suited for the boys, but
ultimately I had to decide if it was more important
for me to coach at the highest level.”
Murray did not need to be persuaded to take the
job, but he said that several conversations with
coach Kerry Clawson helped him overcome any
“I don’t know how girls think, but basketball is
basketball no matter how you teach it. Girls learn
it the same way as the boys. The physicality is the
only difference,” he said.
It was the fi rst time in many years that the pro-
gram was able to hire a full-time varsity assistant,
and Clawson said that Murray’s ability to dem-
onstrate skills on the court was invaluable and he
was an excellent role model.
Murray, 24, has already been coaching for six
years and seems destined to be a varsity head
coach — should he choose to pursue that path.
However, had his original plans worked out, Mur-
ray would probably be a lot further away from
earning his own bench.
After a standout career at Marist High School,
which included a state championship his senior
year, Murray was invited to walk on at Southern
Oregon. But he struggled to match the physicality
of bigger, more experienced players. And after a
conversation with his coach, he decided to leave
the program.
But unlike the many college athletes who have
made similar choices, Murray stuck with his
sport. He stayed active through intramural basket-
ball, lifted weights twice a day and played on the
school’s rugby team.
He also started coaching. With help from his
former high-school coach, Chris Schmerbach,
Murray took on the eighth-grade boys program at
Sacred Heart Middle School in Ashland, and also
helped in the local YMCA leagues. The
Please see Murray, Page 2B
photo by Matt Hollander
Cottage Grove assistant coach Michael Murray brought a lot of experience to his fi rst
varsity assistant job, but coaching girls was all new territory.