Girls Basketball-The Vernonia Lady Loggers continue to dominate the 2A Northwest League and are undefeated in league play with a 10-0 record. Overall the Lady Loggers are 18-2 on the season, are ranked 3rd in 2A and lead 2A in scoring.
Vernonia all but sealed up the Northwest League title on January 30-31 with a 65-49 home win over Knappa on Friday, followed by a 44-22 victory at second place Faith Bible. The Lady Loggers topped it off with a 63-26 win at Gaston on February 3.
In the win over Knappa, Vernonia welcomed back point guard Marketa Veselkova, who missed 5 games with an ankle injury. Head coach Steve Whiteman said junior Sara Smith did a great job filling in while Vesselkova was out. Veselkova picked up right where she left off, directing the Lady Loggers offense and playing tight defense. Knappa kept the game close in the first half, but the lady loggers pulled away in the third quarter and cruised to another win.
Meghan Sullivan and Paige Smith continue to control the post while Lisa Paje and Julia Fletcher patrol the wings. Sara Smith and Jocie Roberts have provided relief from the bench. Substitutes Payton Wolf, Maria Alvarez and Megan Ely have also seen significant playing time during the Lady Loggers undefeated run in league play.
The Lady Loggers wrap up the season with three straight league games at home: Feb. 6 against Neah-Kah-Nie, Feb 10 versus Delphian and Feb. 13 with Nestucca. In preparation for their playoff run, the Lady Loggers have also scheduled a non-league match up at Country Christian on Feb 12. Country Christian is currently ranked 4th in 1A, are 6-0 in the Casco League and 16-3 overall.
Boys Basketball-The Loggers are fighting for a playoff spot in the 2A Northwest League and are currently in 4th place with a 7-4 league record following a 52-30 win at Gaston on February 3.
With a chance to move into a tie for first place when they hosted Knappa on January 30, coach David Weller’s young squad battled fiercely and fell just short, losing 55-52. Knappa led the entire game with the Loggers pulling to with one point several times, only to see Knappa answer each time. The Loggers had a chance to tie the game with the final shot, but freshman Clay Sullivan’s last gasp three point shot went just wide of the hoop.
Sullivan has been a revelation for the Loggers this season, leading the team as a first year high school player. He looks to have all the tools. At six foot, he’s a great ball handler, and gives the Loggers good size in the back court. He can drive to the hoop, shoot from outside and play tenacious defense. He’s already one of the top two or three players in the Northwest League and matched up well in the showdown with Knappa senior Tyson Burnard, another candidate for league Player of the Year.
The Logger starting lineup is filled with underclassmen who are seeing loads of playing time. Sophomores Brett Elliot, Tristan Adams, and August Johnson have all been fixtures for the Loggers, along with junior Jared Medearis. 6’4” Sophomore Luke McCallum has also contributed. Senior Will Botelho has been injured and missed several games, although he did see a few minutes in the first half against Knappa. Senior ZiXian Chen filled in for significant minutes against Knappa as well.
The Loggers followed up their loss against Knappa with another heartbreaker, losing 61-60 on a last second 3-point buzzer beater at Faith Bible the following day.
Vernonia has a tough final stretch to close the season, with three home games: Feb. 6 against Neah-Kah-Nie, Feb 10 versus third place Delphian and Feb. 13 with first place Nestucca.
Wrestling-Coach Chris Barnes continues to prepare for the District Tournament. At the Cougar Classic at Gervais on January 24 Corbin Nelson took 6th place at 113, Andrew Jennings took 4th at 126, Jake Harbour finished 4th and Alex West took 5th at 145, and Niklas Merzadah finished 6th at 220.
The wrestling team also earned a 36-31 dual meet win over Kanppa on January 22 with Mekhi Williams, Jeffrey Goodman and Jake Harbour all winning for the Loggers.
Cheerleading-Competition season has started for the Vernonia Cheer Squad and the team is off to a great start.
The Competition Team is made up of Olivia Shelnut, Breanna Gardner, Emma Campos, Cecilie Birkelund and Co-captains Nichole Gardner and Meagan Schirmeister.
The competition team took 1st place in the 1A, 2A, 3A division at the Crusader Challenge on January 24 and followed that with a 2nd place finish on January 31 at Clackamas. Nicole Gardner also competed individually at both competitions. At Clackamas the Youth Team also had a chance to compete for the first time.
The Winter Squad which cheers on the sidelines at basketball games includes the competition team members plus Mackenzie Willard, Jessie Williams, Jaelynne McCallum, Sandra Meyera and exchange student Celine Loffler who has already headed home to Germany.
Head coach Denise Way is proud of her squad as they continue to help throughout the community and in the school. The Cheer Squad has been working closely with the Wrestling team this past year, doing community service projects together, including helping during Jamboree weekend and wrapping gifts for Toy and Joy at Christmas. The Cheer Squad also decorates the school and athlete’s lockers before games. Way is also proud of her squad who maintain the highest GPA of any athletic team.
Recently the Cheer Squad and wrestling team held several practices together. The cheerleaders did the wrestling workout including a twenty station circuit training session. The wrestlers then joined the cheer squad and learned stunting and some choreography.
On February 8th the Cheer Squad will host a Friends and Family Showcase which will include routines by two other high schools and the Portland State Competition Team.
The Competition Squad also has the upcoming State Competition and the OCC Championships on the Weekend of February 14 followed by Spirit of the West Nationals on February 21 in Salem.