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Spin on season puts Boye's team on course

by Don Hunt

When you've suffered through a 16-game losing streak, posted but two victories on the season and are in imminent danger of losing 20 games, you can be excused for plunging into a deep depression.

But first-year Eagle Point High boys basketball coach Rob Boye is remarkably upbeat as he heads into the home stretch of his first season with the Eagles.

"People find it strange when I tell them how much I've enjoyed this year, but I really have," Boye, 39, says. "Our record doesn't show it, but we've improved a ton and I'm really excited about the future.

"Plus, I've had unwavering support from the administrators and parents. I'm in a good situation."

The Eagles are 2-19 overall and 1-10 in the Southern Oregon Conference entering tonight's home game with Klamath Union. Such ledgers are nothing to brag about, of course, but the Eagles are a junior-laden team and - as Boye says - they've undergone considerable and discernible growth.

Need proof? How about last Tuesday's 51-35 victory over Ashland, EP's first in SOC play, followed by Friday's 67-50 loss to fourth-ranked Grants Pass, a game in which the Eagles trailed by just eight points late in the first half.

"Our guys are showing spurts of brilliance," Boye says, "and one of these days we're going to put together a full game and everyone's going to be happy with the outcome."

Boye believes that day might arrive as soon as today, or on Friday when the Eagles host North Medford.

Although eliminated from the state playoff picture long ago, the Eagles can still play the role of spoiler as the regular season draws to a close a week from today.

This is also the time of year when a young team can set the table for next season.

Boye already has a marquee player in Tim Martinen, a junior shooting guard who is averaging 12.6 points per game, ninth-best in the SOC. Martinen exploded for 31 points in the Eagles' season-opener and had 24 in a recent loss to No. 2-ranked South Medford.

"The thing I like about Tim is that he's kept his nose to the grindstone and worked hard all season," Boye says. "He's set a good example for the younger kids. "

Starting point guard David Hinkle is also a junior, as is Jacob Goodson, a 6-foot-6 post who began the season on the junior varsity but has made his way into the starting varsity lineup.

Two other juniors posts - 6-5 Brandon Anderson and 6-6 Cole Brown - give Boye some tall timber in which to build a front line for next season.

Boye is already looking forward to the spring, when he'll enter a group of players into Manny Crump's basketball league, and the summer, when the Eagles will play 30 to 35 games and participate in the University of Oregon team camp.

"We're going to spend four straight weekends playing basketball," Boye says. "We're going to be vagabonds on the road, sleeping in gyms and having a great time."

Boye spent the last six seasons at Warrenton, the final four as head coach, where he posted a 47-35 record and guided the Warriors to a second-place finish at the Class 2A state tournament in 2000. It marked the first time in 20 years Warrenton had advanced to the state tourney.

Can he generate similar success at Eagle Point? Ever the optimist, Boye is in it to win it.

"Our goal next season will be to win the conference championship," he says. "It's going to take an extraordinary amount of commitment to get to that level, but that's the goal."

PHOENIX HIGH SWIM COACH

Jim Heath was named District 4 coach of the year following Saturday's district meet at Grants Pass.

The honor was well-deserved. Heath's Pirates upset Cottage Grove for the boys district title, 222-220, and his girls team finished third behind Cottage Grove and Reedsport.

Heath's son, Justin, a freshman, advanced to this weekend's state meet by winning the 500-yard freestyle in 5 minutes, 27.77 seconds.

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS SOCCER

teams at the Class 1A and 2A levels will no longer have to compete with 3A schools during the state playoffs in Oregon.

The Oregon School Activities Association voted to separate the two groups beginning next fall. Thus, the 1A and 2A boys teams will combine for one playoff system while the 3A squads will have their own separate tournament.

Girls soccer teams at the 1A, 2A and 3A levels will continue to play for one combined championship.

Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail