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Notebook: St. Helens boys basketball team will need new head coach after summer decision

COURTESY PHOTO: JEREMY DUECK - Zach Waldher runs the St. Helens Lions huddle during a timeout last season.Prep boys basketball

St. Helens High is in the market for a new boys basketball coach.

Zach Waldher has resigned after one season in charge of the program.

Waldher said he made the decision last Sunday, after a summer league tournament, the annual War of the Border, in Longview, Washington.

"Ultimately, it came down to me making the decision that was best for me and my family," he said.

Waldher reflected on both the positives and negatives of the high school season and offseason so far for the Lions.

St. Helens went 5-17 overall in 2019-18, sweeping its two games with Scappoose to finish 3-10 (sixth) out of eight teams in the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference.

"We didn't always get the results in wins that we wanted, but we worked hard with these young athletes," he said, "and we worked hard getting kids to buy into a new program and build a successful culture.

"It starts with the parents and administrators, and in the end it was unfortunate we couldn't focus on one common task."

Playing more summer basketball and in high-level tournaments was one key step, Waldher said, and he felt the returning players were making progress.

"Guys like Canon Beisley, Gavin Knoke, Kyle Gunderson, Trevor Fitzgerald and Neil Wolfe were continuing to develop, and we were winning some games and getting ready to go to the Gonzaga team camp," Waldher said. "But there were other issues, and I decided to remove myself before things escalated."

Waldher said he wrote athletic director Ted Hirning and principal Katy Wagner, thanking them for the coaching opportunity.

"I see the kids growing and moving on and being successful, in the classroom and on the court," Waldher said. "I've been trying to teach them how to be accountable and be effective communicators, along with better basketball players.

"I can be a fiery, competitive coach, but at the same time we held our kids to a standard.

"I think Ted is trying to do his best (as athletic director), and I think he will do a good job, but people need to understand the process and how it's done and what it takes to build a successful, winning culture.

"I appreciate all the players, from the freshmen to the varsity, and all of my assistant coaches, and the managers. I can't thank those people enough, as well as the parents who did support the program."

College baseball

The upstart Michigan Wolverines, whose roster includes a freshman relief pitcher with Scappoose ties, got off to a roaring start in the College World Series this past week.

The unranked Wolverines, one of eight teams in the double-elimination tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, knocked off eighth-ranked Texas Tech 5-3 to open the event on June 15.

Two days later, Michigan beat Florida State 2-0.

Those outcomes put the Wolverines (48-20) into an 11 a.m. PT Friday game. They were set to again face Texas Tech (46-19), which survived on Wednesday with a 4-1 win that eliminated Florida State.

Willie Weiss, a freshman who graduated from Westview High, once played in Scappoose. The 6-3, 205-pound right-hander did not appear out of the bullpen in Michigan's first two CWS games.

Golf

After eight weeks of play at Wildwood Golf Course, Yarbor Racing leads the eight-team Monday men's league with 41 points, while Pacific Athletic Club continues to lead the four-team Tuesday league with 41 points.

For information on the men's club, contact Bob Medley, president, 503-781-0271, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday standings: Yarbor Racing 41, Johnny's Bar & Grill 36, Mower Shed 33.5, Rofinot Heating 31.5, Shankapotomus 31, Paulson Printing 31, Deer Island C.C. 26, Grocery Outlet 24.5

Tuesday standings: Pacific Athletic Club 41, Macadam Liquor 32, Capt. Morgan on the Rocks 31, Precision Engraving 24

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