Seniors say goodbye to Siuslaw hardwood

Siuslaw celebrated its seven senior basketball players on Feb. 13. They were, top row, from left, Jimmy Allen, Victor Ayala, Sam Ulrich and Mary Jo Fontenot and bottom row, from left, Odin Smith, Dez Anderson and Gillian Norton. Photos by Cameron Jagoe/

Viking hoopsters are honored before their last HS game

Feb. 18, 2023 — Seven seniors stepped onto Glenn Butler Court on Feb. 13 for their final basketball game for the Siuslaw Vikings. As is the tradition on Senior Night, before their game against Pleasant Hill, each senior was brought to center court and joined by friends and family who honored them with balloons, flowers and gifts.

There are two seniors on the girls team, Mary Jo Fontenot and Gillian Norton.

Fontenot is a player who can play in all five positions on the court. She is arguably the toughest player on the Viking girls squad and forced numerous jump balls throughout the season because of her refusal to give up on loose balls.

Norton was Siuslaw’s center and, as the Vikings tallest player, she was tasked with defending some of the best players in the Mountain Valley Conference throughout the season. Norton held her own against that top-tier competition.

Both Fontenot and Norton are members of the Rhododendron Court and will compete to be crowned Queen Rhododendra at our community’s annual flower festival in May. 

On the boys side, seniors included Jimmy Allen, Victor Ayala, Dez Anderson, Odin Smith and Sam Ulrich.

Allen was the team’s second-leading scorer this year. He could dependably score from 10 feet or from the 3-point line — and all points in between. He possesses elite athleticism as indicated by numerous steals he got this season by out-jumping his opponent to intercept their pass.

Ayala brought the same athleticism that allowed him to thrive as a linebacker on the football team to the basketball court. Ayala always played aggressive and was one of SHS’s top defenders.

Anderson joined the Siuslaw basketball team for the first time this year. He showed improvement all season and became a valuable forward on the Viking second unit.

Smith was a dynamic, slashing guard for Siuslaw. All season, he could be counted on to not only provide aggressive defense when the Viks ran their full-court press, but was also be a big part of breaking the press that other teams applied.

Ulrich is also a senior. Possessing athleticism that only comes with being a member of the three-time defending state champ cross country team, Ulrich’s endless energy was integral on both sides of the court for the Vikings.

Both teams wrapped up their seasons on Senior Night.

The girls lost to the Billies 52-9. They finish the season 0-12 in league and 2-22 overall.

The Siuslaw boys also lost to the Billies. Their score was 78-41. The SHS boys finish 2-10 in league and 7-17 overall.