Forced out as the head football coach at Eagle Point High in January, Jacob Schauffler wasn't sure what direction he would go in the early aftermath...
The teams have been selected for the fourth annual Mail Tribune All-Star Basketball Classic, and there's reason to believe the boys and girls contests featuring Southern Oregon standouts will be as scintillating as in previous years.
The games are March 19, with the girls starting at 5:15 p.m. and the boys at 7.
They will be played at Kids Unlimited, 821 N. Riverside, the youth development agency in Medford that also receives proceeds from the games.
Tickets will be sold at the door and are $8 for adults, $4 for students and kids under 12 get in free.
Of the 40 players from classes 6A through 1A who will participate, 13 helped their teams reach the eight-team state tournaments in their respective divisions. Four of those teams were in action this week: South Medford's boys and girls and the boys teams from North Medford and Phoenix.
Last week, the Illinois Valley boys and St. Mary's girls got as far.
Boys all-stars from those teams are South Medford's Josh Havird, Mike Brassel and Tevyn Mercer; North Medford's Jared Knox and Chris Faust; Phoenix's Tyler Dungannon; and Illinois Valley's Roger Hults and Jesse Bethke.
Girls all-stars from the state teams are South Medford's Tess Picknell, Kylie Towry and Yaremi Mejia, and St. Mary's Kylee Adderson and Jamee Batten.
Fans can vote on the starters for each team, designated the Rogues and Siskiyous, by going to www.mailtribune.com/allstars. Upon completion of a registration form, voters click on five players for each of the four teams. Players with the most votes the day before the games will start.
The all-star contests evolved from a desire to see players of all levels from the region match skills on the same floor at the same time, and the games have proven to be high scoring and close.
In last year's boys game, the Siskiyous got two free throws from Crater's Josh Dalton with seven seconds left for a wild, 99-97 triumph over the Rogues. Butte Falls' Harley Casillas was the most valuable player after scoring a team-high 17 points in a matchup in which nine players reached double figures.
In the girls contest, Towry rallied the Rogues from a 16-point deficit in the final 5:33 for a 71-70 victory. The game's most valuable player, she made three 3-pointers in that span and scored the winning bucket off a screen with 10 seconds remaining.
The final basket gave her a team-high 18 points.
Here are this year's teams:
ROGUES — Josh Havird, South Medford; Tevyn Mercer, South Medford; Mike Brassel, South Medford; Cody Dismukes, Crater; Billy Hansen, Ashland; Braden Monnet, Hidden Valley; Jake Herklotz, North Valley; Noah Conway, St. Mary's; Daniel Varela, Rogue River; Caleb Allen, Rogue Valley Adventist.
SISKIYOUS — Jared Knox, North Medford; Chris Faust, North Medford; Taylor Griggs, Grants Pass; Logan Winter, Eagle Point; Tyrone Holmes, Eagle Point; Tyler Dungannon, Phoenix; Roger Hults, Illinois Valley; Jesse Bethke, Illinois Valley; Eric Morse, Cascade Christian; Moe Gower, Butte Falls.
ROGUES — Tess Picknell, South Medford; Kylie Towry, South Medford; Yaremi Mejia, South Medford; Maricela Aguilera, Grants Pass; Casie Johnson, Eagle Point; Kara Fikso, Hidden Valley; Jacquie Nicholson, North Valley; Aleena Cesaro, Cascade Christian; Mariah Moore, Butte Falls; Mary O'Reilly, Rogue Valley Adventist.
SISKIYOUS — Alyssa Maurer, North Medford; McKensey Peters, North Medford; Katie Powell, Crater; Kelly Ferris, Crater; Adrienne Engle, Phoenix; Kelsie Bradfield, Phoenix; Kylee Adderson, St. Mary's; Jamee Batten, St. Mary's; Alli Ehrhardt, Rogue River; Laurissa Tausaga, Illinois Valley.