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North, South drop one frosh team

Making a boys freshman basketball team at North and South Medford high schools could become more difficult next season.

Medford School District administrators decided earlier this spring to drop the number of freshman teams from two to one at each school. At the same time, a decision was made to replace the C teams at each school with a freshman/sophomore team.

The varsity and junior varsity squads will not be affected.

The decision to drop from five teams to four at each school was made based on a lack of participants and scheduling difficulties, district athletic director Bruce Howell said.

To get the most bang for our buck, we like to have 12 kids on a team, and that wasn't happening the last couple years, particularly at the C-team level, Howell said. Now the coaches will have the flexibility to put some of their freshmen on the frosh/soph team.

South Medford athletic director and varsity basketball coach Dennis Murphy said the purpose of the C team was to give players who have yet to develop physically a chance to participate. Historically, the C team at South has produced at least one varsity player each season, he said.

But the past two years, Murphy said, we've literally had to beg kids out of the halls to play, and that was never the purpose.??

Murphy said he believes interest in participating in high school basketball has waned in recent years due in part to players getting cut at the younger levels.

Kids are playing at younger and younger ages and that's a good thing, but some of them give it up after getting cut for the first time, Murphy said.

I never thought it would come down to this — — having to drop a team — but it has.

Other than Roseburg, the two Medford schools were the only ones in the Southern Oregon Conference which fielded two freshman basketball squads last season.

If we get more kids wanting to play, then it's possible those fifth teams could come back in the future, Howell said.

The girls basketball programs at North and South dropped their fifth teams following the 1998-99 season.