PHS girls basketball: Haidyn Ecker

Philomath senior Haidyn Ecker pulls Regis apparel out of a bag to share with her parents, Jeanna and Blake Ecker, during Saturday night's girls basketball scrimmage after announcing her intent to play at the Denver university.


The Philomath High School boys basketball team broke an impressive record last week.

No, the season hasn't started yet. This particular record has to do with pies and the annual auction that the program stages during its preseason scrimmage.

Coach Blake Ecker said he was told by volunteer and basketball mom Nicole Stueve that the auction brought in $5,300.

"I always try to buy a pie and had $100 ... I was not going to go over a hundred," Ecker said. "Well, I ended up spending $171."

A scheduling change has delayed Philomath's season opener until this coming Tuesday at home against South Albany. The Warriors lost some good talent to graduation but does have some experience back in Nolan Jackson and Kenan Conner. Ecker believes there is the potential for younger talent to contribute immediately.

"We've got some good players coming up ... I think they can really step up," he said. "I don't think they want to be the ones who don't win league this year. They have a great opportunity."

Philomath will be trying to win the Oregon West for the fifth straight season.

"I think North Marion's always good. Stayton's huge; they have a couple of 6-7 kids that are only juniors, I believe. They could be the team to beat, I don't know," Ecker said. "Newport's got a couple of kids. It'll be a decent league. But I'm optimistic about our chances."

GIRLS BASKETBALL: PHS senior Haidyn Ecker announced her intent to play college basketball at Regis University, a Division II school in Denver.

Regis is coming off a 23-8 record last year, which included an appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Rangers have lost four of their first five this season.

"I really liked the school. I was there for a little over 24 hours and liked the campus and I really liked the academic part of it, their nursing program," she said. "I don't have to wait to get into the nursing program and I can stay on track with my prereqs (prerequisite courses) and stuff."

The announcement came during a break at Saturday night's preseason scrimmage. Ecker had also considered Eastern Arizona, a junior college in Thatcher, Arizona, and Assumption, a Division II school in Worcester, Massachusetts.

COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL: Several former Philomath High standouts have been doing well at the collegiate level. At the Division I level, volleyball player Haylie Bennett has been a regular contributer to Oregon State's attack as a redshirt freshman.

Bennett had 245 kills to rank third on the team during the regular season. And she had 89 blocks, which also ranks third. Bennett appeared in all 32 matches for the Beavers. In Friday's match against Oregon, Bennett tied her career best for kills with 13.

Oregon State is having a good season with records of 11-9 in the Pac-10 and 21-11 overall. On Sunday, the Beavers learned that they had been selected as an at-large team for the NCAA tournament. OSU will play North Carolina State in the first round Friday in Austin, Texas.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: PHS alums Ben DeSaulnier and Cal Stueve are off and running with their respective seasons at Southern Oregon and Oregon Tech. Coincidentally, both had noteworthy performances against Simpson (California).

DeSaulnier, SOU senior, scored a season-high 29 in a Nov. 7 win over Simpson. He ranks No. 4 on the school's all-time scoring list. Through eight games, he's the team's top scorer with an 18.9 average. He's shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range, 85.0 percent from the free-throw line and has a team-high 15 steals.

Stueve, a freshman at OIT, has appeared in five games so far this season. He scored his first basket at the collegiate level in the team's 100-77 win over Simpson. He scored six points a few weeks ago in an exhibition game at the University of Portland.

Trey Ecker and Riley Davis are both playing at Linn-Benton Community College. The team is off to a 3-1 start with Ecker, a sophomore starter, averaging 13.5 points per game. Davis has come off the bench to average 6.0 points per game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Philomath grad Trent Hardin wrapped up his final football season up at George Fox. Hardin played in eight games and finished with 12 tackles, six solo and six assisted. Hardin finishes his career with 49 tackles in 34 games.

Hardin played in George Fox's first football game in 46 years back in the 2014 opener when the school brought the sport back to campus. The team went 1-8 that first season but has improved each year at 4-6 in 2015, 5-4 in 2016 and 7-3 this fall.


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