MEDFORD, Ore. – South Medford’s run through the state championship was nothing short of remarkable. Their 15-point win over Westview in the March 10th title game was their 30th win of the season. So I asked head coach Tom Cole when he got over the excitement and turned his focus to this year.

“March 10th,” Cole said. “We literally drove back and we celebrated as a school, had a couple assemblies and that was great, but truly those kids starting working on the idea of next spring.”

The team knows if they want to experience it again, it will take work. For one, they’ll have to overcome the loss of all-state star Tess Picknell, who now plays for Stanford. Plus, the Panthers’ schedule is filled with top teams and extended road trips.

“It’s going to be tough,” senior Luisa Tago says, “but we’re looking forward to playing these teams. We’re looking forward to getting better, and it’s just going to prepare us for the end of the season.”

Senior Yaremi mejia says, “That we’re going to play really tough teams, that means a lot because it’s going to make us better. We don’t like to lose. Nobody likes to lose so we just want to fight to win.”

Cole says, “I think the focus for the schedule was it’s an opportunity. This schedule wouldn’t be the same if we hadn’t done what we did last year so we look at it as a privilege.”

The team isn’t looking to simply repeat last year. They’re looking to build on it.

Cole says, “We had some really unselfish players and when they play for each other as opposed to playing for themselves, they can accomplish great things. I think that precedent was set last year so they all know what that looks like.”

“Just the team chemistry we have, it’s awesome,” senior Kylie Towry says. “We all work really good together. We mesh really well, and I just want to experience it all over again because when I think about it, I still kind of get chills.”