STAYTON — The Regis High boys basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the OSAA 2A State Championship earlier this month, but rather than sulk in defeat the team is already looking forward to next year.
Each season the Rams have their eyes on one goal; end the season with a state championship. This season they fell short of that goal despite being the top-ranked team in the tournament.
“We had a very successful season and started the season with one goal,” coach Tony Miller said. “We put ourselves in a position to reach that goal and unfortunately we came up eight points short and got beat by a very good Vernonia team.”
In Miller’s third season, Regis finished 25-4 and 11-1 in the Tri-River Conference. They finished as the regular season and conference tournament champions and earned the No. 1 seed at the state tournament.
“We’ve got a really tough league that helps prepare us really well,” Miller said. “To battle through that and to get a conference title and that number one seed was huge.”
With such high expectations, Miller wasable to improve in each season he’s been at Regis as he led the Rams to a fifth place finish his first year, third place last year and a second place finish this year.
“We lived up to our potential and on a better night we may have reached our goal,” Miller said. “I felt like we deserved to be there (and) it was definitely important for us to show the program is continuing to grow and improve. At the end of each season we’ve done a little bit better than the season before.”
The Rams will lose three-fifths of their starting lineup, but only lose four seniors. They return many key contributors, including guards Brendon Woodcock, Bryce Piete, Brandon Piete and Ryan Boyd as well as post players Tanner Williams and Seth Kelley.
“It didn’t take me too long to shake it off and start looking at the future because we have amazing guards coming back and a post player that came into his own (Tanner Williams),” Miller said. “Then we have guys that didn’t see a lot of time and had amazing seasons at the JV level.”
Expectations will be sky high once again next year for Regis as they’ve built a program that seems to reload rather than rebuild.
“It’s a really fun program to be apart of (and) the coaches are amazing,” Woodcock said. “It sucks ending on a loss and it makes you want to start playing again next year.”
Next year the Rams will be loaded and dangerous yet again.
lramirez@StatesmanJournal.com or Twitter.com/@LuisRamirez10