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Rouhier again idled by injury

Prep Notebook

This was supposed to be a season to remember, a time to shine.

So far, however, all Eagle Point senior Nick Rouhier has to show for years of shooting hoops in driveways, backyards and playgrounds is a terse DNP on the stat sheet.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder showed uncanny poise and a penchant for the dramatic when he buried a pair of 3-pointers in the final 47 seconds to give the Eagles a 44-43 victory at South Salem in the second round of the Class 4A state boys basketball playoffs last March.

There was plenty of reason to expect more -- until Rouhier suffered a couple of bad breaks.

He sustained his second broken collarbone in little more than a month on Nov. 21, in a collision with teammate Brad Crawford in a simple drill in practice.

As Nick turned the corner, (Crawford) jumped into the lane, Eagle Point boys basketball coach Keith Williams recalls. They went shoulder to shoulder. You could hear it as soon as it happened.

It's all becoming a little old for the 17-year-old guard.

First, there was the summer basketball knee injury in 1998 that cost him his entire junior football campaign and a substantial portion of last basketball season.

Then, just as he was getting in the groove as Eagle Point's quarterback, he absorbed a vicious whack against Roseburg on Oct. 15 that left him with a broken collarbone and ended his season.

The latest collision reset the rehab clock back to six weeks.

We're not going to see him on the floor before our Jan. 4 opener against Grants Pass, Williams says.

The difference in the injuries, Rouhier says, was that he didn't know what happened on the football field; in the gym, he knew all too well.

I didn't see the (Roseburg) guy coming and I wasn't sure what happened, although I thought I had dislocated my shoulder, Rouhier says. This time I heard the bone break and knew exactly what happened. It was much more painful -- both mentally and physically.

The realization that precious court time is flying by hit him hard. He will have missed 27 of his team's previous 36 games by the time he returns.

I was anxious to play. I was kind of crushed that I didn't get to finish the football season, Rouhier says. I was down, then I realized I still had basketball season, and that was really my sport.

I thought I had this all behind me, and now I have to start all over again.

Rouhier had difficulty writing after the first break, wearing a brace and then a sling. But as soon as he got clearance, he ran wind sprints and participated in other non-contact drills.

Then I started doing the contact stuff, Rouhier says. It felt just fine.

A few days later, he banged into his teammate.

He was just playing defense and I was going too fast, Rouhier says.

Will it alter the way he approaches things next month?

I might be a little more cautious in practice, he admits. But I can't say what I'll do when I get in a game situation. After the first couple of weeks, I'll trust that it's healed and go at it like I always do.

In the meantime, Rouhier is on the outside looking in at practice and spectating just when he figured to take center court.

Coach Williams doesn't want me out there during practice because he's afraid I might get run into and hurt again, Rouhier says. I'm waiting and trying to take care of business. I'll start running next week.

Instead of racking up the stats, he's likely to be recording them for a while.

EAGLES CHALLENGED-- With Rouhier sidelined, the Eagles have to find someone willing to pull the trigger and perform in the clutch.

It's never good when you lose your best player, Williams says. The other kids on the court will have to put it on the floor a little quicker for us to be successful. They'll have to find out what it takes for them to contribute at this level.

For now, 5-foot-10 seniors Steve Gray, who scored 14 points against Redmond in a 71-52 loss on Saturday, and Eric Boucher are handling Rouhier's duties.

We have to take care of ourselves so that when Nick comes back, we can compete for a playoff spot, Williams says. But we're going to have to have more than Nick to do that.

OSAA METES OUT FINES-- The Oregon School Activities Association executive board Monday fined more than 20 schools for rules violations.

Hardest hit was South Medford, which was fined $300 because of three violations within the past year, including an ineligible football player and an ineligible volleyball player in the fall.

The Panthers also led the state with eight player ejections during the fall sports seasons. Two other schools had seven and one six, said board member Cliff Kuhlman of Grants Pass, adding the board asked South Medford to come up with a plan of action to avoid future violations.

Other Southern Oregon schools fined were:, Eagle Point, $50, for an ineligible volleyball player; Mazama, $50, for an ineligible soccer player; and Prospect, $50, for surpassing participation limits in volleyball.

MOVING ON UP AND DOWN-- The OSAA also placed St. Helens in the Class 4A Three Rivers League and Woodburn into what will become the Class 4A Pac-9 Conference, effective next fall.

The OSAA infrequently moves schools from one classification outside of its four-year time blocks, but it dropped three schools down a notch starting next fall.

La Grande will drop from the Intermountain Conference to the Class 3A Greater Oregon League; Umatilla goes from the Greater Oregon League to the Class 2A Columbia Basin Conference; and Mohawk leaves the Trico League for the Class 1A Casco League.