Miranda Mendenhall would trade in the individual honors for a state championship, but the Sutherlin High sophomore’s performance on the court during the 2012-13 season was admired by the Class 4A coaches.
Mendenhall, the Far West League Player of the Year who helped the Bulldogs win the league title and finish third at the 4A state tournament, recently became the youngest Sutherlin girls basketball player to make the all-state first team. The 5-foot-6 guard was the lone sophomore on the first team, joining seniors Hannah Reynolds of state champion Mazama, Kassi Sanders of Cascade, Breanna Partney of La Grande and Riley Gerlinger of Banks.
Reynolds was selected the Player of the Year. Joy Lease of Mazama was named Coach of the Year.
Sutherlin sophomore guard Ricki Mock and freshman post Kayce Mock both received honorable mention.
Mendenhall led the Bulldogs (27-1) in scoring with 16 points a game, along with 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists. She shot 31 percent from 3-point range and scored a school-record 38 points in a FWL victory over Douglas.
“I’m happy about it (all-state),” Mendenhall said. “I couldn’t have done it without my team behind me. My role changed from last year when we lost Kelsey (Hill) and Lainey (Corbett), and myself, Ricki (Mock) and Kylee (Carson) all had to step up.”
Sutherlin — which lost to Henley in the state title game in Mendenhall’s freshman season — won 26 straight games this season before its championship hopes ended with a 66-56 loss to La Grande in the semifinals. The Bulldogs rebounded to take third with a 62-58 win over Cascade in overtime as Mendenhall finished with 16 points, five assists and four steals.
“That loss (to La Grande) opened up our eyes and showed us we definitely needed to pick up our game,” Mendenhall said. “(The win over Cascade) was a good way to end the season.”
“Miranda had a wonderful sophomore year,” said Sutherlin coach Josh Grotting. “There was a little more pressure on her ... she had more responsibility, but rose to the occasion. She’s an outstanding defensive player and always seemed to hit the big bucket when we needed it. I think the biggest difference this year was her poise — she didn’t get rattled quite a much.”
Ricki Mock, a first-team all-FWL selection, averaged 8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Kayce Mock, who made second-team all-league and was on the all-tournament first team, averaged 7.9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Bulldogs lost three seniors, one of them being first-team all-league post Cheyanne LeFevre. But they’ll likely enter the 2013-14 season ranked No 1.
“I think we’ll be decent,” Mendenhall said in an understatement.
Class 4A boys
Sutherlin senior post Derrik Wattman, the FWL Player of the Year, was selected to the all-state second team.
The 6-4 Wattman, who led the Bulldogs to a 20-9 record and sixth place in the state tournament, averaged 14.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. In league play, he averaged 17 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists.
Sutherlin dropped a 57-44 decision to FWL champion North Bend in the fourth-place game.
North Valley senior Kevin Brazille was named the 4A Player of the Year and Jeff Nelson of N.V. was Coach of the Year. Brazille was joined on the all-state first team by teammate JJ Chirnside and seniors Orion Wright of Cascade, Sean Hays of La Salle and Ryan Potter of Molalla.
Class 3A boys
Glide senior Brandon Halter, the Sunset League MVP, was a second-team all-state selection.
The 6-foot-3 wing/guard averaged 23 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.7 blocked shots for the Wildcats (19-5), who didn’t advance to postseason play.
“I’m really proud of him. He deserved it,” said Glide coach Jeff Smith. “He’s one of the better players at the 3A level. He can shoot from anywhere and had 12 dunks during the year, so obviously he can jump.
“He has a small-school Kevin Durant type of game.”
Senior Michael Loomis of Horizon Christian was voted Player of the Year and Dave Brown of H.C. was Coach of the Year. Loomis was joined on the first team by senior Brent Counts of Blanchet Catholic, junior Gabe Taylor of Valley Catholic, senior Nathan Bernards of Dayton and senior Calvin Henderson of Horizon Christian.