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...
There will be competing agendas when the Mail Tribune All-Star Basketball Classic unfolds at Kids Unlimited Saturday.
The players will want to have fun and put on a show.
They'll also want to win.
"It's really nice to have fun because this is a one-time thing," says Daniel Varela, a senior guard from Rogue River. "But it would be nice to get the win. It's kind of a mix between the two. Everyone out there is competitive."
The fourth annual event features the top boy and girl players from Class 6A to 1A in Southern Oregon. The girls game is at 5:15 p.m., and the boys play at 7.
Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for students and kids under 12 get in free.
Proceeds go to Kids Unlimited, a Medford youth development agency.
Each of the four all-star teams — the Rogues and Siskiyous — is made up of 10 players.
The boys coaches are Southern Oregon University men's assistants Brant Minor (Rogues) and T.J. Caughell (Siskiyous).
The girls coaches are SOU women's head coach Lynn Kennedy (Rogues), who will be assisted by Raiders star Whitney Scott, who recently completed her senior season. Oregon Tech women's assistant Caelyn Graey (Siskiyous) will be on the opposing bench.
A couple of roster changes were made this week. North Medford's Jordan Browne-Moore was added to the Siskiyou boys, replacing Black Tornado teammate Chris Faust. Rogue River's Kelly Maxey joined the Rogue girls, replacing Cascade Christian's Aleena Cesaro.
North Medford's Alyssa Maurer, a North Medford senior who participated in last year's game, echoed Varela's thoughts.
"Everybody likes to win," she says, "but a lot of it is getting to play with new people. It's like a showcase, but it hurts your ego a little bit when you don't win. It's all about pride. It's not a super-big deal, but it's nice to win."
Maurer's 2010 squad, the Siskiyous, suffered a tough defeat. It led by 16 points with 51/2 minutes to play before South Medford's Kylie Towry orchestrated a rally that resulted in a 71-70 Rogue victory.
Towry made the game-winning shot inside the last 10 seconds, scored a team-high 18 points and was named most valuable player. The South Medford sophomore returns this year, but she and Maurer won't be on the same team.
"I think it would be really fun to play with the South girls," says Maurer. "We've always been rivals, but it would be nice to utilize each other's abilities. The North girls have some different strengths than the South girls, and the South girls have different abilities, too. It'd be fun to put them together for one game."
Maurer will be joined by teammate McKensey Peters on the Siskiyous. Towry will have Panther teammates Tess Picknell, a 6-foot-5 junior post who played last year, and sophomore guard Yaremi Mejia.
Picknell was player of the year in the 6A Southern Oregon Hybrid.
Roger Hults, who averaged 20 points per game for Illinois Valley and was named the 3A Southern Cascade player of the year, also returns. The junior, who scored nine points as his Rogues team lost 99-97 last year, is on the Siskiyous this time around.
"I thought it would be really serious and people would be looking to win and be ball hogs and stuff," he says, "but it was fun. Everyone shared the ball. It was fun to play in the game."
Hults' Rogues team trailed 90-81 in the late going last year before mounting a comeback that resulted in a fantastic finish. Crater's Josh Dalton of the Siskiyous made two free throws with seven seconds left to break a 97-all deadlock.
Butte Falls' Harley Casillas led the winners in scoring and was named MVP.
In addition to putting on a show for fans, Hults hopes the two sides can craft another nail-biter.
"It'd be nice if it was a close game," he says. "That's what you look for."
Hults will be opposite another high-scoring guard, Ashland junior Billy Hansen.
"I've followed it the last few years," says Hansen. "The games are really high scoring and come down to the end and they've had some really good finishes. I'm hoping it will be the same kind of game, really intense and one that everyone enjoys watching."
Hansen will be making his all-star game debut.
"I'm really excited about it," he says. "I feel like it's a good opportunity to play with some of the best players in the valley. Some of the guys are friends of mine and I'm looking forward to making new friends. It should be a fun experience."
ROGUES — Josh Havird, South Medford; Tevyn Mercer, South Medford; Mike Brassel, South Medford; Cody Dismukes, Crater; Billy Hansen, Ashland; Braden Monnot, 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; Jordan Browne-Moore, 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; Kelly Maxey, Rogue River; 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.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or e-mail email@example.com