Oregon's High School Sports Source
- Written by DRH
- Published on January 18, 2009
- Hits: 789
In 2005-06, South Eugene went 16-0 in the MWL.
In 2006-07, North Eugene went 15-0 in the MWL.
In 2007-08, North Eugene again went 15-0 in the MWL.
In 2008-09, two weeks in… we already know our eventual champion won’t run through the league without a blemish on the record.
Churchill, going into Friday’s game in Coos Bay as the final MWL unbeaten at 2-0, fell to Marshfield and the Fightin’ Kyle Tedders (32 points for the junior point guard) 53-44 in a rather stunning upset… kind of. It was an upset in than Churchill is the projected league champion and Marshfield is supposed to be mired in a season-long dogfight for the final playoff berth, but the truth of the matter is that the MWL is absolutely loaded this year, and no team is safe… especially when playing on the road.
Case in point: Marshfield’s 62-42 uncompetitive loss to the Millers three days earlier in Springfield. Lose by 20 to a decent, but flawed, Springfield team, then beat a top 5 team at home in the same week? Home court is everything in this league.
The other big story this week comes from Thurston, who did something that no team has done since February 24, 2006: beat North Eugene in a league game. South Eugene last did it in the ‘06 regular season finale, before the Highlanders would rip off 31 straight MWL wins. But they ran into a defensive buzz saw at Thurston, who was coming off a difficult loss to Churchill and were looking for a little atonement. The Colts held North Eugene to 9 points at halftime en route to the 44-32 win. Just for good measure, Thurston shut down archrival Springfield three days later, 54-33. The Colt D was all-consuming this week.
What does a Churchill loss, a Thurston sweep, and a North Eugene and Marshfield split mean at the end of Week 2 of MWL play?
A four-way tie for first place.
1. Churchill 2-1
1. Marshfield 2-1
1. North Eugene 2-1
1. Thurston 2-1
5. Springfield 1-2
6. Willamette 0-3
But fear not, the four-way tie will be broken up soon enough: Thurston hosts Marshfield, and North Eugene hosts Churchill (both games on Tuesday) in an attempt to restore order in the league.
It’s too early to make any sort of projections here. Five teams are within a game of first place, when you factor in Springfield. Of the four teams in first place, all are undefeated in league games at home. We’ll be well in to round two of MWL play before anything can start to be answered definitively. But you have to like the competitiveness of the league from top-to-bottom in the early going.
And what of our favorite Eugene-based SWC schools? They’re doing alright, too.
Sheldon has burst out of the gates to the tune of a 4-0 league record after taking care of North Medford in a 61-59 home thriller on Friday, three days after thumping Roseburg 65-51.
The Irish have a showdown at South Medford on Tuesday. The Panthers are 3-1, and jockeying for position at the top of the SWC. And they have those pesky Singler’s.
South Eugene split their league efforts this week, losing 53-52 at Grants Pass on Tuesday but avenging the game with a 51-41 road win at Roseburg on Friday. The GP game has to be disappointing for the Axemen; GP isn’t very good, and a win would have had them in a tie for 2nd place with South Medford, a team they already beat. Consistency is the name of the game in this league, boys. Gotta be consistent.
1. Sheldon 4-0
2. South Medford 3-1
3. North Medford 2-2
3. South Eugene 2-2
5. Grants Pass 1-3
6. Roseburg 0-4
The top four seeds in the SWC earn berths to the 6A playoffs.
Marist split their two games this week, dropping a 50-39 decision to Cottage Grove on Tuesday but rebounded with a 56-43 road win at Junction City on Friday. The split (their second in two weeks) places the Spartans at 2-2 in the Sky-Em, good for 5th place.
1. Cottage Grove 3-0
2. Sisters 3-1
3. Pleasant Hill 2-1
3. Elmira 2-1
5. Marist 2-2
6. La Pine 0-3
7. Junction City 0-4
Can the defending 4A champs get it together and begin their climb up the Sky-Em? They have two games upcoming against two teams above them in the standings, at Elmira on Friday, and at home against Pleasant Hill the following Tuesday. No time like the present.
What Did We Learn?
The MWL is awful tough. Road wins remain at a premium, and any that you can pick up (like Thurston over Springfield) will go a long way by season’s end. This upcoming week is “seperation week” for the MWL – all four first place teams go head-to-head on Tuesday, so look for a somewhat clearer picture to emerge by mid-week, but with the overall strength of the league, don’t be too surprised if things are back to square one by Friday.
Sheldon has followed up their solid LSI showing with a hot start in the SWC, and play a huge game against South Medford this week. A 5-0 start at the end of the first round of SWC play would be huge. South Eugene remains a mystery, beating South Medford but falling to Grants Pass. I still look for both Eugene schools to qualify for the postseason, but SE is making things difficult on themselves.
Marist can’t seem to find a rhythm, and four of the next five games are against teams ahead of them in the Sky-Em. It’s sink or swim time.