Boomers honored after historic season

Toledo’s Conner Marchant and Clifton Howard share a special moment after being crowned 2020 OSAA 2A State Champions. The pair have more than 90 wins together during their time in Toledo. (Photos courtesy of Toledo basketball)

“Some days, I’ll be just walking around and say to myself, ‘I’m a state champ,’ and I get chills or an adrenaline rush. Little things like seeing some ideas for our ring or when we unveil our banner, things like that.” — Conner Marchant

TOLEDO — Fresh off Toledo’s first-ever team state championship, the Boomers continued to rake in awards.

Unsurprisingly, Toledo’s greatest-ever player, Conner Marchant, was named the 2020 2A Oregon Mr. Basketball after a stellar senior campaign.

Conner became the second Marchant to win the award, and just to be able to accomplish something similar to his brother —Isaiah Marchant — meant a lot to the third all-time scoring basketball player in Oregon basketball history.

“I was just very humbled. I’ve seen my brother get the award, and I remember thinking he’s one of the best players in Oregon,” Marchant said. “After four years being here, it’s just surreal, and very humbling.”

Along with Mr. Basketball, the Boomers had Mason McAlpine make the first team for his undeniable importance to the team.

As a junior, McAlpine became one of the stars during the 2020 season for his ability to defend on the perimeter, but maybe more so for his shooting stroke. The sharpshooter was key in the Boomers Pendleton run. Marchant may take the plaudits for his vision and stroke from long range, but without McAlpine stretching the floor, there wouldn’t be as much space for his teammates.

McAlpine, Marchant and the Boomers set the bar high in the 2019-20 season.

“I am so proud of our guys. The work paid off for them, and just seeing how our team is in the all-time record books that were just sent to me is amazing. One of the winningest groups of seniors of any class in Oregon history, top five league-winning streak in Oregon history and two of the all-time highest scoring teams in Oregon history the last two years,” head coach Eddie Townsend said. “And they weren’t given this, they worked, worked and worked.

“I’m still in awe of what we were able to accomplish together. No one knew this group would do this. Five years ago they were little twerps, and we just had faith in what they could become and it all fell into place.”

And the players weren’t the only ones honored.

Townsend was named 2020 OSAA 2A Coach of the Year after guiding the Boomers to the state title, despite not winning the Sunset Conference award.

“He deserves it more than any award I’ve ever gotten. He has sleepless nights working on sets, doing our film stats. He sees where we are most effective as players and tries to use that,” Marchant said. “I feel like a lot of coaches are like, ‘we only have one system and I’m not changing that.’ Eddie really adapts. He talks to us on and off the court. 

“We know he always wants the best for us and would do anything for us, just a great guy.”

And even after winning a state championship, Townsend and the Boomers are already looking toward next season and beyond. The Boomers got a taste of something special — don't expect them to go away any time soon.

“I would say we are one of the heavy favorites for next year. Losing Conner and Cliff (Howard) is incalculable, but I think we have a very strong returning group (McAlpine, Jaxon Rozewski, Coren Loper, Gunner Rothenberger, Kellan Howard, Larell Covington, Markus Cross, Bubba Barnhart, Hayden Thomas and more),” Townsend said. “We return seven starters, guys who started at one point or another this season, and they are all hungry to get back. The state, if you look at the all state teams and rosters of the playoff teams, is very senior laden. The state will be down next year.

“Our league will be way down outside of us, and I think we will make a run the next two to three years, and we will keep working on our young groups to just be consistent. If we can compete for a league title every year to get a home game to Pendleton and get trophies and be a title contender every three to six years, we are doing it right.”

Don’t be surprised if you see a new generation of Boomers, including Crew Loper, Madden Rozewski and Townsend’s son wearing the Boomer yellow in the future.

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