PHS coaches Eddie Van Vlack, from left, Aaron Schermerhorn and Blake Ecker watch a scrimmage during practice on Wednesday. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Editor's Note

This story was updated with a correction in the last paragraph to the track and field schedule.

The Philomath High School boys and girls basketball teams will both be playing for trophies at the Class 4A state playoffs Thursday through Saturday at Forest Grove.

The 10th-seeded girls are the defending state champions and will open with a quarterfinal matchup against second-seeded Gladstone. The top-seeded boys will try to tame a hot eighth-seeded Crook County team in their first game.

Let’s take a look at each team’s first opponents. For the boys, the Warriors will go up against a Crook County team that is back in 4A after four years in 5A. The Prineville squad heads into the Philomath game with a 16-8 record but has been cruising over the past two months. The Cowboys have won 11 of 12 games since Jan. 13.

These two schools met just last season in the South Coast Les Schwab Tournament in Coos Bay. The Warriors posted a 69-53 victory with then-juniors Cole Beardsley and Ty May each scoring 20 points.

The boys game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff Thursday.

If Philomath (20-3) can get past the Cowboys, the team would then play at 6:30 p.m. Friday against the winner of Henley vs. Baker. If it’s a loss, the team would play the Henley-Baker loser bright and early at 9 a.m. Friday in the consolation semifinals.

The 4A championship game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The Warriors hope to be there, of course, and wouldn’t mind a third shot at Cascade, the school that many consider the team to beat. The third-seeded Cougars could be on course to face second-seeded Junction City in the semifinals if both schools defeat their opponents in the quarterfinals.

The girls are coming off an impressive first-round victory over Marist Catholic and have a 17-7 overall record. Gladstone brings in an impressive record of 21-4 into the contest, which is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. Thursday start.

The Warriors and Gladiators played early this season in the Marist Classic with Gladstone hanging on for a 56-50 victory. Senior Abigail Brown had a big game with 24 points and Zoee Howard came off the bench to score 12.

You could say that Philomath was a different team back then, however, with starter Hailie Couture lost to an injury in the previous game. The Warriors had a three-game losing streak during that stretch as they tried to find their bearings. One of the losses was by 23 points to Marist, a team that Philomath just eliminated.

If Philomath pulls out a win, the semifinal matchup would be against the winner of Crook County vs. Astoria at 3:15 p.m. Friday. If it’s a loss, the consolation semifinal would be played at 10:45 a.m. Friday.

The girls championship game is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Saturday. Baker heads into the tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Philomath High’s Unified basketball team, seen here with Amity’s players on Thursday, won five of seven games this season. (Photo provided by Laurie Eck)

Unified team wins season finale

Philomath beat Amity, 51-24, in Unified basketball last week. (Photo provided by Laurie Eck)

The Philomath High Unified basketball team ended its season with a 5-2 record after defeating visiting Amity last week, 51-24.

The Unified roster this season featured five athletes and six partners. Athletes included seniors Indi Colligan, Jasmin Eck, Justin Garcia and Eli Ulm, and sophomore Shyann Eck. Partners were seniors Brooke Moade, Phoebe Dodson, Madison Parker and Isaac Workman, junior Caleb Garcia and sophomore Laighla Hockema.

Saff Evans served as the team’s head coach with assistance from Kathy Bauer, Darci Garwood and Sally Hockema.

Following the March 2 season finale, Evans hosted the two teams in her PHS classroom with a spaghetti dinner.

PHS boys tennis coach Gary Quandt works players through a drill during an inside practice on Wednesday. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Spring sports around the corner

While winter sports winds down with boys and girls basketball teams in the state playoffs, the spring programs have been practicing. Temperatures outside have been chilly, however, and there has been limited space in the high school gymnasiums with the overlap.

The tennis teams are scheduled to open the season on Monday against Lebanon — the boys at home and the girls on the road. Players will be competing with limited time on the court. However, they may not play if the weather forecast doesn’t change. The temps look fine in the low 50s but there’s an 88% chance of rain.

The Warriors are scheduled to open baseball season March 15 at Taft. The first home appearance is slated for March 23 against Gladstone. The softball team’s schedule shows a home game on March 14 against Lebanon for the season opener.

Track and field starts a bit later with the opening meet on March 22 at the Mid-Valley Ice Breaker Invitational in Dallas. Philomath will host its invite on April 8.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.