By: Yoda Santiam Christian Coach Dennis McClain knew this was going to be a very fun season for his SC squad. Coming off a very strong finish last year at state, making it to the final four, followed by an outstanding summer session when they won almost every game and in a four game stretch they beat Central, Stayton, Marshfield and 5A powerhouse Crater. Making their summer sessions even more impressive was that the wins came without many of their squad present. Now with a full squad on their roster, SC catapults from a 3rd or 4th state ranking to the 3A preseason favorite to cut down nets in March. Featuring the tallest team in all classes of Oregon High School basketball, Santiam Christian resembles more of a team any college coach would love to have on their campus. The roster size is impressive with kids standing at 6-9, 6-8, 6-7, 6-6, 6-5, 6-4, 6-4, and 6-3… plus some normal sized kids, SC wouldbe a challenge for any high school team in the state to match up with. In two words, Coach McClain would call them, "Tall" and "Motivated" to describe his squad. He added, "6-7 Senior Zach Baugher is focused and ready to lead them". After 3 days of practice, these are the Varsity players but some swing players will be added soon. Zach Baugher sr Josh Baugher so Ben Galceran Jr Koby Williamson Jr Joe MaQatish so Zeek Gilbert sr Patrick Otis sr Winn Miller sr Russell Vela sr Levi Villers so Swinger Ely Kennel (football quarterback) fr When asked about their new league, Coach McClain said, "Phill will be tough. The others we don’t know much about yet. We loved the West Valley and the competition from top to bottom. I played in the old West Valley 93'-97'. It was awesome being able to coach in it." 6-7 senior Zach Baugher is one of the most highly recruited kids in Oregon in any class of play with scholarship offers from Carroll College, Mid America University, William Jessup, Lewis & Clark State, Corban University, Northwest Christian College and Western Oregon University and easily the most highly recruited player in 3A this year. His not so little brother 6-6 sophomore point guard Josh Baugher is projected to reach even high levels by several college coaches. The 2 transfers bigs 6-9 junior Koby Williamson and 6-8 sophomore Joe Maqatish will be a force down low and rebounding immediately. With the height surrounding him, Ben Galceran will be a threat from the 3. The other varsity returners will add speed and experience to a talented squad. When we asked Coach McClain how he feels about many people believing SC is the preseason favorite to win it all, he responded, "We welcome it. We will be a tough team because we are so different then anything other team that people have faced, because of the height and ability to shoot the 3. We are honored to be mentioned at the top of 3A. Dayton and Delasalle have had a tremendous run and to be talked about with them is an honor. The rankings don't bother the boys. We are excited to see how things work together starting on the 28th." When we asked Coach McClain what he thought it would take for SC to be successful, he said, "They have to learn to play together and find the open guy. We are trying to fit pieces together. New guys fitting in and learning the plays and style.We have height. It doesn't hurt to have a 6'5 or 6'7 point guard in either of the Baugher brothers.We have a lot of ways to go this year. We can put 5 guys out there 6'5-6'8 which will happen at times or we can go smaller with a little more speed on the break. We have guys that like to shoot the 3. 6 guys 6'5-6'8. One 6'3, one 6'4. I would assume we are one of the tallest teams in Oregon but that doesn't win games. It might take us a few games to get the pieces in the right spots to have the best outcome."