Southern Oregon's Highland, Thompson earn all-CCC nods

Southern Oregon senior Jordan Highland and freshman Eric Thompson both were voted Cascade Collegiate Conference men's basketball all-stars, the league announced Monday.

Thompson broke the school record for points by a freshman (587) and averaged 18.8 per game during the conference season to rank second in the CCC. He also ranked sixth in the conference with 7.3 rebounds per game and among the conference top 10 in free throw percentage (eighth, .781), 3-point percentage field-goal percentage (ninth, .398) and 3-pointers made (10th, 35).

Highland closed out his two-year SOU career with his second all-conference honor. The senior ranked 14th in the CCC in scoring average (12.9 points per game) and 10th in field goal percentage (.562) while averaging close to 32 minutes per game. He also averaged 5.2 rebounds and 2 assists during the CCC season.

Oregon Tech freshman Bobby Hunter was named the conference Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year after leading the conference in scoring (20.7 points per game) and ranking fourth in steals (2.31) while leading the Owls to their fourth straight CCC regular season title and an automatic bid to the NAIA Men's Division II National Tournament.

John Van Dyke of Northwest University was selected the CCC's Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to a share of the CCC regular season crown. Northwest began the 2011-12 campaign by winning its first 15 contests and has been ranked as high at eighth in the NAIA coaches' poll just three weeks ago.

Women's Basketball

Southern Oregon's Josi McDermott and Haley Newell each received honorable mentions as the Cascade Collegiate Conference released its 2011-12 women's basketball all-conference teams Monday.

Newell led SOU in scoring this season, averaging 10.7 points per game and adding 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Her .789 free throw percentage was the best on the team. McDermott averaged 9.8 points per game and added 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals per contest.

Jessalyn Jackson of Northwest was named the CCC Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring (19.4 points per game), rebounding (11.6) and blocks (4.5). Corban coach Terry Williams was named the Coach of the Year after leading the Warriors to their first outright regular season title with a 15-3 conference record.

College Track and Field

The Southern Oregon track and field program will make history this weekend as a pair of athletes for the first time will travel to Geneva, Ohio, for the NAIA Indoor National Championships.

Sullivan Stevens and Max Perry each qualified for the NAIA Indoor Championships while competing at the Boise State Bronco Classic on Feb. 4. Stevens finished the 60-meter hurdles in 8.2 seconds to hit the 'A' qualifying mark exactly, and he enters the championships ranked sixth in the NAIA. Perry ranks fourth in the shot put after beating the 'A' qualifying mark by more than a meter with a throw of 55-feet, 3-inches at the Bronco Classic.

"It's very exciting to have two of our better athletes ranked in the top 10 going into the national championships," SOU coach Grier Gatlin said. "Both are expecting big things, and so are we as a team. It's really exciting for us as a program in our first year of indoor to have such high marks and such quality athletes heading back to the championships."

While Stevens and Perry are competing in Ohio, Brandon Ritchie will take part in the Chico Multi Classic on Thursday and Friday in California. Ritchie will compete in the decathlon for the Raiders, and Gatlin is excited about Ritchie's potential in the event.

"It's his first decathlon of the year," Gatlin said. "Marks are going to be hard to say with the weather, and a couple of the multi-events are kind of tricky the first time for our athletes. But we're still expecting some big things from him, especially in the future."

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