History Made at South Medford, OR;
On April 27th, 2012, the South Medford High School Lady Panthers girl’s basketball team added one more accolade to its championship season, and the Army National Guard and MaxPreps made this honor the most special. For the first time ever, the South Medford Lady Panthers burst onto the national high school recognition scene as they were honored with a No. 22 national ranking according to the MaxPreps Freeman poll, out of 20,000 girl’s basketball teams across this great country. The Lady Panthers capped off a remarkable 30-0 undefeated season by winning the OSAA Class 6A Championship, their first ever state title. In the state championship game, South Medford beat Westview 61-46. They are the first ever “large school classification” team from Southern Oregon to win the championship and the first big school team in the state to finish 30-0. Three of the Lady Panthers have signed on to play Division 1 basketball at the collegiate level.
At 9:45am, the students, parents, and media filed into a standing room only gymnasium for the 5th Annual MaxPreps Girls’ Basketball Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard trophy presentation. Principal, Kevin Campbell tipped off the ceremony to packed house by addressing the cheering student body and introducing MaxPreps representative Josh Tanner. Josh praised the Lady Panthers and Coach Tom Cole’s amazing accomplishments on and off the court. This particular team was recognized not only as a great basketball team with an undefeated record but by also awarded the Oregon State Sportsmanship Award and boasting the highest GPA of any team in the state playoffs. Josh told the crowd the players standing in front of them ranked No. 22 nationally out of 20,000 girls’ basketball teams. Josh then introduced Sergeant Major Kevin Cutting from the Oregon Army National Guard who congratulated Coach Cole and the Lady Panthers on a great year and said he was proud to be aSouth Medford fan. He then turned the microphone over to fellow Oregon Army National Guardsman, Sergeant James Marinucci, who talked about what it takes to be a “champion.” “Hard work, determination, and teamwork are 3 key ingredients it takes for success,” explained an elated Sergeant Marinucci. Then they presented Coach Tom Cole with the prestigious Army National Guard national ranking trophy or the “Minuteman” and a nationally ranked championship banner to hang in the rafters at the South Medford Gymnasium for years to come. Coach Cole thanked the Army National Guard and MaxPreps for recognizing the Lady Panthers as one of the top teams in the country. He also thanked the crowd for their support all year and held the coveted trophy up to crowd to a standing ovation.
The school administrators, the student body, the extensive local media, and team were so thankful for this amazing opportunity to be recognized nationally by the Army National Guard and MaxPreps. To conclude the celebration, and donning their new commemorative Tour of Champions t-shirts, the Lady Panthers posed for pictures and addressed the local media on their once in a lifetime achievement.