It will be the state playoff veterans against the postseason rookies Friday night at Knappa, where the Loggers are set to host the Reedsport Braves in a Sweet 16 game of the Class 2A boys basketball state playoffs.
Tip-off is at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m., $6 for adults, $4 for students.
And the Braves (16-6 overall) are facing a near-impossible task — beating Knappa on the Loggers’ home floor in a state playoff game.
Knappa (22-4 overall) is 11-1 at home this season, including wins over No. 1-ranked Western Mennonite and No. 2-ranked Columbia Christian. Their only loss was to Toledo in the season opener, when the Loggers had less than a week of practice following the football season.
Knappa lost three games at home last season, to Columbia Christian, Astoria and 4A state champion Seaside.
The Loggers’ playoff record is also just plain impressive. Knappa has missed the post-season just once in the last 14 years, with six trips to the state tournament since 2006-07.
“That’s just something when you play or coach for Knappa — you expect to be in the playoffs,” said Knappa coach Chris Spencer. “Our players have that experience. Even Dale as a freshman saw significant time his first year and has been there.”
Reedsport’s state playoff history? The Braves lost a first-round game at Westside Christian on Feb. 22, 2005. That was Reedsport’s last appearance in the state playoffs.
Even more daunting for the Braves — the Loggers have not only won their last four Sweet 16 playoff games at home, the scores have been 70-45 over Union, 86-47 over Yoncalla, 95-34 over Monroe and 84-67 over Heppner.
Still, “(The Braves) have three good guards and a couple of good posts,” Spencer said. “They have an athletic point guard (Tyreece Gardner), a good heady player (Marc Chaney, son of coach Alan Chaney) and another (Korde Parmenter) who shoots well and plays good D.”
Knappa has not played since a 64-44 loss to Columbia Christian last Saturday, in the league playoff tournament at Forest Grove.
The Loggers did come away with their usual handful of all-league players.
Knappa placed four players on this year’s all-league squad. Their fifth starter also would have been included, but missed three weeks of the league season.
Senior Dale Takalo narrowly missed the league’s Player of the Year award, which went to Vernonia senior Clay Sullivan.
Takalo was joined on the first team by sophomore (and brother) Eli Takalo.
Senior Colton Weirup earned second team honors, and sophomore Joe Ramvick was selected honorable mention.
The Knappa girls also had four starters named all-league.
Senior Paris Vanderburg earned first-team honors, while sophomores Sophia Carlson, Aiko Miller and Madelynn Weaver were all selected honorable mention.
The NWL Player of the Year was Neah-Kah-Nie senior Maddie Lambert, while league champion Faith Bible had all five starters earn all-league honors.