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Tago headlines list of SWC all-stars

Standing out on a deep and talented basketball team is rarely easy but South Medford junior Julissa Tago has done that in her third varsity campaign.

For her efforts, Tago was recognized as the Southwest Conference girls basketball player of the year in recent voting by the conference’s coaches.

Tago, a versatile 5-foot-9 guard/forward, averages 18.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and two steals per game for the top-ranked Panthers (21-4), who open the Class 6A state playoffs at 6 p.m. Wednesday against visiting Westview.

Tago finished first in overall scoring for the league this season after connecting on 46 percent of her shots during the regular season. She ranked third in SWC-only scoring (17.2 points per game) behind Sheldon’s Autumn Baumgartner (18.5 ppg) and South Medford’s Keyari Sleezer (17.3 ppg).

After securing a fifth straight undefeated conference championship, South Medford’s Tom Cole was named girls coach of the year.

Joining Tago on the first team were teammates Sleezer, Jasmin Falls and Andee Ritter, Sheldon’s Baumgartner and Roseburg’s Jordan Stotler.

Sleezer, a 5-11 senior, averaged 16.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.2 blocks overall; Falls, a 5-11 junior, averaged 12.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists; and Ritter, a 6-0 senior coming back from ACL surgery, averaged 9.3 points, 5.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 steals while shooting 46 percent from 3-point range.

All those figures slightly increased in SWC play, with Falls (12.9 ppg) and Ritter (12.4) finishing sixth and seventh in scoring, respectively.

In the SWC boys voting, North Medford’s Tristen Holmes and Brian Schireman were joined by South Medford’s Brayden Massey and Cameron English on the first team. The Black Tornado and Panthers tied for second place behind South Eugene, which featured player of the year Eli Lininger (20.9 ppg) and coach of the year Dave Hancock.

Holmes eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career this season, with the 6-2 senior averaging 15.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game to repeat his first-team honor.

Schireman, a 6-1 junior, led the Black Tornado (20-4), which opens the state playoffs at 7 tonight by hosting Barlow, with 15.6 points per game during the regular season to go with 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Schireman was third in SWC’s overall scoring, while Holmes was third in conference-only scoring at 14.6 points per game.

Despite suffering a broken ankle during the football season, Massey, a 6-1 senior, managed 10.6 points and 3.0 assists during the regular season for the Panthers (17-7), who open the state playoffs at 6 tonight by hosting McMinnville. Massey finished sixth in SWC-only scoring at 12.4 points per game.

Despite having his nose broken twice this year, English, a 6-9 senior, averaged 10.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

Also on the first team was South Eugene senior Mason Green-Richard.

BOYS

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Eli Lininger, Sr., South Eugene.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Dave Hancock, South Eugene.

First Team

Eli Lininger, Sr., South Eugene; Tristen Holmes, Sr., North Medford; Brayden Massey, Sr., South Medford; Mason Green-Richard, Sr., South Eugene; Brian Schireman, Jr., North Medford; Cameron English, Sr., South Medford.

Second Team

JC McKinley, Sr., Grants Pass; Kobe Mitchell, Jr., Sheldon; Jacob Stephens, Sr., Roseburg; Will Swank, So., Sheldon; Tucker Barry, Jr., North Medford.

Third Team

Sean O’Neil, Sr., South Eugene; Kirk Bassett, Sr., South Eugene; Cade Bates, So., Thurston; Patrick Goddard, Sr., Willamette; Hunter Bradford, Jr., South Medford.

Honorable Mention

Josh Washington, Jr., South Medford; Stephen Patoine, Jr., Roseburg; Sean Ryan, Sr., Grants Pass; Damian Williams, Jr., Sheldon; Edmund Polataivao, Sr., North Medford.

GIRLS

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Julissa Tago, Jr., South Medford.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Tom Cole, South Medford.

First Team

Julissa Tago, Jr., South Medford; Keyari Sleezer, Sr., South Medford; Autumn Baumgartner, Jr., Sheldon; Jasmin Falls, Jr, South Medford; Jordan Stotler, Jr., Roseburg; Andee Ritter, Sr., South Medford.

Second Team

Ashley Backen, Sr., Roseburg; Hannah Nordstrand, Sr., South Eugene; Bailey Lincoln Bates, Sr., Willamette; Sarah Hall, Sr., Sheldon; Jacque Luaders, Jr., Grants Pass.

Third Team

Maggie Freeman, Fr., North Medford; Karina Clark, Sr., Sheldon; Allison Rich, Sr., Thurston; Savannah Bumgardner, So., North Medford; Meg Jackson, Sr., Roseburg.

Honorable Mention

Lauren Orndoff, So., South Medford; Lexi Hall, Sr., North Medford; Kassady Aldrich, Sr., Thurston; Kendall Minium, Jr., Thurston; Amanda Tobey, Jr., Grants Pass; Lexie Haller, Jr., Willamette; Hope Green-Brooks, So., Sheldon; Kayla Miller, Sr., Grants Pass.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

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