The Forest Grove girls and boys basketball teams qualify for state before losses to Metro League foes.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Viking basketball players Bailey Evers (2), Dillon James (1), and Kyle Thompson (20) swarm a Southridge defender during Forest Grove's playoff game last winter.Forest Grove boys and girls basketball teams ended relatively successful seasons where you'd at least like to — in the state playoffs.

The boys team, led by seniors Bailey Evers, Zach Stanich and Dillon James, in addition to junior point guard Kyle Thompson, plowed through the difficult Greater Valley Conference, finishing with a 10-6 conference record and placing fourth behind first-place Sprague, second-place West Salem, and third-place McNary.

The Vikings went on to face Southridge of the Metro League but fell to the Skyhawks on the road, 66-55. Despite the loss, Forest Grove head coach Greg Evers was proud of his team's effort against the bigger and more athletic foe, as well as of the season as a whole.

"We had a shot," said Coach Evers. "We needed to get a little closer to put pressure on them, but we just couldn't get over that hump."

Bailey Evers was honored by the conference as a first team all-league selection, Thompson was voted to the second team, and Stanich and James were both honorable mention honorees.

The Viking girls, like their male counterparts, also experienced a successful regular season, finishing 8-6 in the conference and placing third behind first-place South Salem and second-place West Salem.

The season, which ended with a 51-38 playoff loss to Metro League Westview, included a win over power West Salem and a near-win over South Salem, which for much of the season was considered one of the premier teams in the state.

The Forest Grove team was led by a group of hardworking, tenacious defenders, including senior and first team all-league selection and co-Defensive Player of the Year McKenzie Long; juniors Katie Rebsom and Emily Huson, who were selected to the second team; and senior Ashlie Collins and junior Kinsey Barnett, who were selected as honorable mention.

Head coach Dan Lumpkin acknowledged his team's effort and success throughout the season, but he summed up the disappointment of the season-ending loss to Westview.

"It's a tough way to end your season," Lumpkin said. "But no matter how it ends, it always ends."

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