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SOC stars to pen basketball letters

Oregon State recruits foreign players to bolster its women's basketballteam as regularly as it drizzles in Corvallis.

The Beavers add another one -- with a twist -- to the fold this week.This time the foreigner has Oregon roots.

French-born Ericka Brosterhous will be one of two of Southern OregonConference players to sign national letters of intent Wednesday. Ashland's6-foot-2 center Djuna Wilhelm will sign with Portland State.

Brosterhous migrated from southern France to Salem in 1995 and last summermoved with her father, B.G., and stepmother, Sue, to Medford. The 6-foot-3North Medford senior's father was a 1969 Klamath Union graduate, later starredat Texas and played professionally in Germany, Italy and France. While playingin Europe he met and married Annie Holville, a French Olympic basketballplayer.

They later divorced and B.G. returned to Oregon. Although she took tothe basketball court at an early age, it wasn't until she began consideringcollege costs that Ericka looked toward America.

As a sophomore at Sprague High in Salem, she beat out a senior for astarting job. Soon, Oregon State wrote her the first of many recruitingletters.

When I got my first letter I said, `Wow Dad look,' and he said:`Keep on working at it and it won't be the only one you get -- trust me.'

Later Oregon, both Pac-10 schools from Arizona and Washington soughther services.

She visited Oregon, Pepperdine and Oregon State before settling on theBeavers.

Wilhelm will become the second Ashland center to sign with a DivisionI school. Sarah Petersen, last year's SOC scoring champion, is now at Hawaii.

Wilhelm also visited the University of the Pacific in Stockton beforesettling on Portland State.

TENNIS SIGNEES -- Ashland's Tammy Botts has committed to Louisiana State.Her arch-rival and fellow Rogue Valley Swim and Tennis Club member JessycaArthur of Klamath Union has decided to play for William and Mary College-- the eight-best program in the nation last year.

They both ranked among the top recruits in country, saysRVSTC pro Cary Collins. Nationally, both should be ranked in top 50in 18s (when they're published in a few weeks).

Botts passed up, Ohio State, Penn State and Minnesota and will sign Wednesday.

I was looking to go somewhere where I would have difficult timemaking the team, says Botts. I wanted to have the competitionand the challenges so I can keep setting goals and focus on my tennis game.

LSU is among the nation's top-20 teams and that was part of her criteria.Besides that, the Southeast Conference is nearly peerless.

Arthur, who the reigning state high school singles champion, picked theWilliamsburg, Va., school over Notre Dame, Michigan and Illinois among others.

There remains, however, some unfinished business:

Botts was 3-0 against Arthur in prep matches as a freshman. Arthur returnedthe favor the following season. Last year, they split four matches, butArthur won in the state semifinals en route to the title.

Next year's the tie-breaker, Botts says.

CLASH OF CHAMPS -- For the second year in a row, the SOC girls basketballchampion will meet another district champion in the first round of the Class4A state tournament next March in Portland.

The SOC champion will open against the Mount Hood Conference winner witha potential quarterfinal date against the Metro League champ.

The SOC runner-up, provided it gets past the No. — Metro team in a playoffto get to Portland, opens up against the Three Rivers League champion. Inall probability, it will be two-time defending national champion OregonCity.

The No. — team would have to beat the Metro runner-up and Valley Leaguerunner-up on the road to make the final 16 field. The No. 4 team would haveto win three road games, including two against No. 2 finishers.

The Oregon School Activities Association was asked to establish seedingprocedure a few years back. The criteria simply put weighs how well a leaguehas performed the past five years.

Historically, the SOC hasn't been a powerhouse league.

Now, it will take twice the effort to improve the SOC's status.

WIRE WOES -- For about an hour this past Saturday night the Mail Tribunesports department was abuzz over North Medford's success at the Class 4Astate volleyball tournament.

The Associated Press had the Black Tornado defeating Barlow for thirdplace on Saturday night. That would've meant that North had beaten bothGresham and Barlow in the same tournament. Given those teams had combinedfor the 11 previous straight state titles -- it would've been a rare featindeed.

So when a fellow MT sportswriter greeted North coach Ron Beick Congratulationsthere was a moment of confusion and then a quick explanation that the Tornadoreally lost the match.

Nonetheless, North made its presence felt and Ali Mostue was named second-teamall-tourney.

WINNERS AND LOSERS -- Aided by Clackamas' upset of Grants Pass, the ThreeRivers League joined the Metro League with three winners in the first roundof the Class 4A football playoffs.

Three Rivers teams were 3-0, while the Metro was 3-1. The Portland InterscholasticLeague was 0-3 with its champion, Grant, getting bounced out of the playoffs,by Churchill, 16-6. The SOC went 2-2.

Class 3A champions got first-round byes, but the Far West League andCapital Conference were perfect in the first round. Both districts havethree teams in the remaining field of 16 teams.

RECORD NIGHT -- Dayton coach Dewey Sullivan became the state's all-timeleader with 274 football wins when the Pirates defeated Knappa, 34-23, Fridayin the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.

Sullivans teams have won four state championships (1985-86, 1995-1996)and have made 16 straight playoff appearances. He passed the late Don Requaof Pendleton, who had 273 wins.

is a Mail Tribune sports writer. He can be reached at 776-4483.

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