ashland

ASHLAND

COACH: Larry Kellems (first year).

LAST YEAR: 19-9, 11-1 SSC (first).

CURRENT RECORD: 4-6.

RETURNING STARTERS

Player Ht. Pos. Yr.

Cameron Clement 5-10 PG Sr.

Matt Lipski 6-9 P Sr.

Dillon Thigpen 5-9 G Sr.

OTHER NOTABLES

Austin Raymond 6-1 W Sr.

Garrett Tygerson 6-5 W/P Jr.

Ethan Moskowitz 5-10 G Sr.

Jesse Javna 5-10 G Sr.

Charlie Sebrell 6-1 W/P Jr.

AT A GLANCE: After a 1-5 start, Ashland appears to be finding its basketball legs. The Grizzlies took some time to jell on the court while awaiting football players Lipski and Sebrell to return. "We didn't have those two kids for the first four weeks of practice," says Kellems, the Ashland JV coach the previous eight season. "I think we're figuring out now where everybody belongs." ... Lipski has been especially stout in the low block. The 6-9 senior, Ashland's first offensive option, averaged more than 20 points per game during a recent three-game stretch. Lipski came into the season much leaner after spending the offseason working on his conditioning. ... Tygerson and Clement will also provide plenty of offensive punch, while Thigpen is Ashland's most dangerous threat from 3-point land. ... Raymond is still recovering from knee surgery after tearing an ACL in a home playoff win over St. Helens last season. "He's still not 100 percent," says Kellems. "It's kind of undetermined right now how much he's going to be able to give us."

CRATER

COACH: Troy McNichols (third year).

LAST YEAR: 15-11, 7-5 SSC.

CURRENT RECORD: 5-3.

RETURNING STARTERS

Player Ht. Pos. Yr.

Josh Lokeno 5-10 PG Jr.

Nick Brothers 6-1 G Sr.

Bryce Peila 6-2 G Sr.

Drew Runberg 6-5 F Sr.

OTHER NOTABLES

Jared Murphy 7-0 C Sr.

Travis Robbins 6-0 G Jr.

Aaron Heiller 6-0 G Sr.

Josh Dalton 6-3 F So

AT A GLANCE: Crater's guard-oriented attack may possess just enough balance to get the Comets back to the postseason. "It all starts with defense for us," says coach McNichols. "If we do well on that end, then we can get out and run a little." ... Lokeno moved into a starting role midway through last season and hasn't given it up. The junior point guard is explosive off the dribble, sees the floor well and can put the ball in the basket. ... Runberg, who transferred in last year, has been a force so far this season on the offensive end. He averaged around 14 points a game through the first five contests and, along with Brothers, will be a go-to guy on the offensive end. "He struggled a little to get used to the system when he first got here," says McNichols. "But he decided to come out this year and assert himself as one of the leaders." ... Robbins is the most instinctive player on the team, says McNichols. The 6-foot junior could rotate as the fifth starter with Murphy, a vastly improved 7-footer.

MAZAMA

COACH: Randy Rose (10th year).

LAST YEAR: 5-20, 3-9 SSC.

CURRENT RECORD: 5-4.

RETURNING STARTERS

Player Ht. Pos. Yr.

Colton Nelson 6-8 P Sr.

Drew Millsap 6-4 P/W Jr.

OTHER NOTABLES

Jordan Rose 6-1 PG Jr.

Matt Fields 6-1 W Sr.

Jared Nelson 5-10 W Sr.

Tanner Taylor 5-11 W Sr.

Charles Swann 6-3 W So.

AT A GLANCE: Mazama possesses possibly the SSC's top player in Colton Nelson. At 6-foot-8 and around 260 pounds, Nelson has emerged as an unstoppable force on the court. Through nine games, the senior post was averaging a near triple-double with 21 points, 10 boards and eight blocks. "He can score inside, shoot the mid-range jumper and he might be our best 3-point shooter," says coach Rose. "He's very skilled in all areas. I think Colton Nelson is one of the top three guys challenging for most valuable player in the league." ... Three of Mazama's four losses have come by four points or less. The Vikings' best win was a 59-57 triumph in overtime over Henley, which was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in Class 4A at the time. ... Jared Nelson and Jordan Rose, Randy Rose's son, are both averaging 10 points a contest. The younger Rose will take on most point guard responsibilities. "He's running point for us right now," says Randy Rose. "It's kind of a point guard-by-committee deal we have." ... Mazama opens SSC play at defending league champion Ashland.

KLAMATH UNION

COACH: Bret Crawford (12th year).

LAST YEAR: 15-9, 9-3 SSC.

CURRENT RECORD: 4-4.

RETURNING STARTERS

Player Ht. Pos. Yr.

Mark Brooks 6-1 F Sr.

Aaron Foster 5-11 PG Sr.

Wyatt Lundy 6-0 G Sr.

Evan Gallagher 6-0 F Sr.

OTHER NOTABLES

Eric Chadderon 5-8 G Jr.

Jon Amos 6-0 F Jr.

Randy Denson 6-0 G So.

Arlan Wilder 6-2 F Jr.

Dylan Bertolomei 6-4 F So.

AT A GLANCE: Klamath Union suffered three SSC losses last season, with each coming to league champion Ashland. The Pelicans then went out in the first round of the state playoffs, losing in overtime to Churchill. ... Balanced guard play will once again lead Klamath Union. The Pelicans have had a different leading scorer in five of the eight games. ... Lundy led a remarkable turnaround against cross-town rival Henley. The senior scored 35 points in a 77-75 victory in overtime. The Hornets handed KU a 67-35 defeat in the first meeting between the two teams. ... Lundy is a slashing guard with a nose for the basket, while Gallagher excels from beyond the arc. ... Besides the big victory over Henley, Klamath Union played well in a narrow loss to 10th-ranked Summit to open the season. The Pelicans, however, dropped two of their next three games before rebounding to win three of four and climb back to the .500 mark. ... Klamath Union opens SSC action with a home game against Eagle Point.

EAGLE POINT

COACH: Tim Dexter (second year).

LAST YEAR: 3-20, 0-12 SSC.

CURRENT RECORD: 2-9.

RETURNING STARTERS

Player Ht. Pos. Yr.

Austin Rowley 6-0 F Jr.

OTHER NOTABLES

David Brasel 6-0 G Sr.

Jonathan Taylor 6-0 G Sr.

Austin Marlia 5-7 PG So.

Derek Tuttle 6-0 G/F Jr.

Scott Erickson 5-10 G/F Sr.

Chris Omotoy 6-3 P Sr.

AT A GLANCE: The rebuilding process has begun at Eagle Point. Last year the Eagles had no returning starters to begin the season, while this year just Rowley is back. Eagle Point was 0-12 in the SSC last season. "We're struggling right now," says Dexter. "We have one player (Rowley) who contributed quite a bit last year. And we really are inexperienced despite having a number of seniors." ... Rowley has a knack for finding the basket. The 6-foot junior has good feet and quickness and plays well with his back to the basket. When needed, Rowley can also step up on the perimeter. ... Brasel and Taylor have both shared time as the team's No. 2 scorer. Taylor, however, suffered a third-degree ankle sprain at the Anderson, Calif., Tournament. Dexter was unsure if he'd be ready for the start of SSC play. ... The Eagles are severely undersized. Four of their five starters are 6 feet, while point guard Austin Marlia is 5-7. Omotoy is a 6-3 senior but he hasn't played since his freshman season. ... Eagle Point doesn't play a home game until Jan. 8. The Eagles' last game at their friendly confines was Dec. 4.