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South’s Logue signs on to play at UC Riverside next year

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Sierra Logue can remember being at one of the many South Medford girls basketball camps she attended as a middle schooler, looking up to her counselors and knowing she wanted to follow their sort of path.

“You’re 12 years old and you’re doing camps with girls that are getting these scholarships and getting to play at the next level,” Logue said. “It’s just that culture that’s made and you’re raised in it, so it’s just an expectation.”

On Wednesday afternoon, that expectation became a reality.

With teammates and family surrounding her during a ceremony adhering to COVID protocols at South Medford High School, the 6-foot-3 Logue signed a national letter of intent to play Division I basketball at UC Riverside next fall, accomplishing a goal she set out years before first wearing a Panthers uniform.

“I’ve been playing basketball since fifth grade and in the South Medford program, we have a really high expectation to play at the highest level of basketball possible, so for me that ended up being Division I,” Logue said. “I saw that open up my freshman and sophomore year, so I’m really excited that that was able to be accomplished and I got here.”

Logue, a member of the Panthers’ varsity squad since her freshman year, had always set out to play at the collegiate level at one of the many schools in the greater Southern California area. The warmer winters in Riverside will be a plus, as will the chance to live out the dream since she first started playing the game.

Logue had a handful of other schools that were interested in her, according to South Medford head coach Tom Cole. The University of Montana was in the mix, as was Portland State, Eastern Washington and the University of Hawaii.

But it was Riverside that truly fit what Logue was looking for.

“I chose Riverside because, first of all, the location,” Logue said. “The biggest part is the coaches — they’re awesome and I just instantly clicked with every single one of them. They’re so talented and have great backgrounds. The players are so nice and welcoming, so it just felt like an easy choice in my mind.”

Logue is the 26th South Medford player to earn a scholarship during Cole’s tenure as head coach, with 15 of those going to the Division I level.

And when it comes to the development that Logue has made to get to this point, Cole can see it as clear as day.

“She’s one of those kids that in her freshman and sophomore years, you didn’t see the totality of what they say is the ceiling and floor,” Cole said. “She’s always had a high ceiling, but it took her a while to rise to what it could be. I really think even this year it’s going to get pushed again. Just watching what she did in the offseason, there’s a lot of reason to believe that she could have as good of a high school senior season as we’ve seen in a while.”

The recruiting process, as Logue noted, was far from routine seeing as schools were still feeling the impact of the NCAA granting players an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic.

It was because of that exemption that some potential schools may have been taken out of the running simply because they didn’t have room on their rosters.

“It was interesting, especially because of COVID,” Logue said of the recruiting process. “A lot of schools were already full and that took a lot of schools off of my list. Honestly, just when I got hold of these (Riverside) coaches, I just knew. … The campus itself, it’s intimidating with the space and everything. But the people there are so welcoming and I’m just so excited and grateful that they want me there.”

Count Cole as one who isn’t surprised that Logue clicked with the coaches at Riverside.

“I’ve known (UC Riverside head coach Nicole Powell) for probably 12 years. I think it’s a great fit, and their personalities are really just warm, kind people,” Cole said.

Logue was part of a South team in the spring that had six players head off to play at the collegiate level. During the pandemic-impacted spring season, the Panthers went a perfect 13-0 and won the culminating week tournament in Portland.

She had arguably the best game of her South career in the quarterfinal win over Wilsonville, nearly recording a triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and eight blocks.

A second-team all-Southern Oregon Conference selection as a junior, Logue averaged 7.2 points, six rebounds and three blocks on a deep and talented Panther team.

UC Riverside, a member of the Big West Conference, went 7-12 during last year’s pandemic-impacted 2020-21 campaign.

Logue will be one of the leaders on a South team that will again look to be one of the best in the state this winter.

She knows it will take work to get there, just as it did to get to this point where playing Division I basketball is now more than just an aspiration.

“It’s definitely a lot of work. It’s every day after school, it’s a lot of days before school, double practices, practices during our break, day after Christmas we’re on the road … it’s a lot of work,” Logue said. “It’s paying off and just the relationships that I’ve built with my teammates and the relationships I’m looking forward to build with my future teammates are definitely worth it.”

“It’s a lot of excitement and a little bit of relief,” she added of Wednesday’s signing. “There’s no off days, and I have to keep working for when I get there (to Riverside) and when I’m able to play at the next level next year.”

Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or dpenza@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford basketball player Sierra Logue signs a letter of intent to play collegiality at UC Riverside on Wednesday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford basketball player Sierra Logue (center) with her teammates after signing a letter of intent to play collegiality at UC Riverside on Wednesday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford basketball player Sierra Logue with coach Tom Cole after signing a letter of intent to play collegiality at UC Riverside on Wednesday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford's Sierra Logue drives to the hoop during the second quarter of a game against Crater this past spring.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford's Sierra Logue goes up for a basket during the first quarter of a game against Crater this past spring.