Year in review: Banks boys take home state trophy
After a rough quarterfinal loss to Tillamook, the Banks boys basketball team recovered to win their remaining two games in the 2017 OSAA 4A State Basketball Championships, claiming a fourth-place trophy and ending the season on a very positive note.
The Braves finished the regular season in third place in the Cowapa League, and then proceeded to defeat Tillamook in a league playoff, Stayton in a state play-in game and a very good Cottage Grove team on the road to get to the state tournament before losing to the underdog Cheesemakers — who'd won consecutive road playoff games in Eastern Oregon — in the quarterfinals.
After the heartbreaking last-second defeat by Tillamook, the Banks boys picked themselves up and went on to beat Henley and Gladstone to take home a trophy, but more importantly, they left with the pride of knowing they didn't quit.
"We talked in the locker room Thursday night about how tough and disappointing that was," said head coach Marcus Roche after their fourth-place win over Gladstone. "And having to come back early the next morning and play Henley, there were two directions that we could've gone, and my guys took the better of the two."
Senior forward Ian Hutchins agreed with his coach. He enjoyed the win and the end result.
"It feels great," said Hutchins. "After not making the playoffs last year and losing that close one Thursday night, we could've laid over, but we came back and got this trophy."
The Braves were led all season by junior wing Dalton Renne and sophomore post Blake Gobel, who were both honored as All-Cowapa League selections. Renne was later honored as a second team all-state selection.
The fourth-place finish marked the end of a successful season for Banks, and Coach Roche saw a lot of long-term value in such a great year.
"This is big for us going forward," he said. "We've got seven guys coming back including our top-two scorers, and I think we've set the bar as to how to win in the playoffs, play in the state tournament, and respond to tough situations."
And where has that gotten them? Undefeated and No. 1 ranked in this season's latest OSAA 4A state basketball rankings.
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