South’s Hunter, Sleezer lead list for SWC
South Medford junior guard Donovyn Hunter set about this season on a mission to prove she still belonged in the conversation for top girls basketball player in the state.
At least when it comes to her Southwest Conference peers, Hunter definitely has their vote.
Hunter, who is now 2 1/2 years removed from major knee surgery, provided a dominant force this season for the SWC champion Panthers (21-3), who open the Class 6A state playoffs at 6 p.m. today against Tigard.
The 5-foot-10 Hunter averaged 22.6 points, five rebounds, two assists and 4.8 steals per game to earn SWC girls basketball player of the year honors.
Hunter’s lead running mate, 6-foot-3 senior post Sierra Logue, also was named to the all-SWC first team after notching 13.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.4 blocks per game.
For his efforts in guiding the Panthers through an almost complete makeover following last spring’s championship run in the Class 6A/5A culminating tournament, Tom Cole was named SWC girls basketball coach of the year.
Rounding out the SWC girls first team were Grants Pass sophomore Brooke Anderson, Sheldon’s Beaux Bruegman and Diamond Wright and South Eugene’s Sofia Megert, who was second in overall scoring in the league at 19.4 points per game.
Anderson averaged 17.6 points per game for the Cavers.
The SWC boys coaches had plenty of stellar options to choose from when it came to its own player of the year voting, with senior guard Junior Sleezer getting the nod for South Medford for his key contributions on each end of the court.
Sleezer averaged 12.9 points this season in a balanced Panther attack that saw four players average double-digit scoring. The 6-foot-3 leader also typically drew the top defensive assignment to help power a South Medford defense that allowed 44.7 points per game.
Joining Sleezer on the SWC boys first team were teammates Devon Malcolm, Boden Howell and Jackson Weiland.
Malcolm, a 6-3 senior, averaged 17.5 points, while the 6-3 freshman Howell (14.6) and 6-foot sophomore Weiland (11.0) were instrumental in guiding South to an unbeaten run through 10 conference games.
North Medford seniors Trey Neff and Bryce Dyer also earned spots on the all-SWC first team after leading the Black Tornado to a runner-up showing.
The 6-2 Neff led all scorers in the SWC with 18.5 points per game to go with 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals, while the 6-5 Dyer wrapped up his regular season impressively averaging a double-double at 12.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game to go with 4.5 assist and 2.0 steals.
South Medford’s James Wightman was named SWC boys basketball coach of the year after guiding the Panthers to the league title after also winning the Southern Oregon Conference tournament title last spring.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Junior Sleezer, Sr., South Medford.
COACH OF THE YEAR: James Wightman, South Medford.
Junior Sleezer, Sr., South Medford; Trey Neff, Sr., North Medford; Devon Malcolm, Sr., South Medford; Bryce Dyer, Sr., North Medford; Boden Howell, Fr., South Medford; Jackson Weiland, So., South Medford.
Dylan Neufeld, Sr., Grants Pass; Danil Olson, Sr., Roseburg; Oscar James, Sr., South Eugene; Mykah Mendoza, So., Roseburg; Luke Leighton, Jr., Sheldon.
O’Shea Miller, Sr., North Medford; Ty Neff , Sr., North Medford; Solomon Nice, Jr., South Eugene; Drew Hall, Fr., South Medford; Austin McLean, Sr., North Medford; Luke Morgan, So., Grants Pass; Mason Bennett, Jr., Grants Pass; Antonio Orozco, Jr., North Medford; Desmond Clayborne, Sr., South Medford; Boston Williams, Jr., Roseburg.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Donovyn Hunter, Jr., South Medford.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Tom Cole, South Medford.
Donovyn Hunter, Jr., South Medford; Sofia Megert, Sr., South Eugene; Sierra Logue, Sr., South Medford; Brooke Anderson, So., Grants Pass; Diamond Wright, Fr., Sheldon; Beaux Bruegman, Jr., Sheldon.
Lottie Dillard, Sr., South Medford; Alia Harris, Sr., South Eugene; Paityn Rhode, Sr., Sheldon; Kendall Fealey, Jr., South Medford; Brooklyn Wakefield, So., Grants Pass.
Tatum Schmerbach, Jr., South Medford; Ali Stevens, Jr., North Medford; Caileigh Raines, Fr., North Medford; Sophie Mock, Jr., Grants Pass; Amy Carpenter, Jr., Roseburg; Gabbie Harms, Jr., Sheldon; Kimberley Ceron, So., South Medford; Olivia Boger, Fr., North Medford.