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Game State

Two teams of Braves fight hard in Corvallis at state basketball tournaments and while neither took first, they both come home with honors
by: Chase Allgood Banks High School head coach Tim Hardie paces the floor during the final quarter of the Lady Braves’ Thursday loss in the OSAA 4A state championship quarterfinals. The team went on to take sixth place in the tournament, securing a trophy.

There are no hard feelings in Banks about how their high school basketball teams fared in state championship play last week.

Sure, the boys didn't get a trophy. And the girls didn't take the top spot. But by locking up sixth place, the Lady Braves took home a shiny bauble to put on the mantle. And the boys team took the tournament's sportsmanship award.

'If we were in high school sports for first place we'd have everybody disappointed all the time,' said Banks High School principal Jim Smith.

And it would have been hard to be disappointed long on the court of Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, under big game lights, with 300 Banks believers cheering you on.

'In this little town we generate a lot of energy,' said Ron Lagrone, Banks High School band director.

'We have great fans,' said Jim Foster, Banks superintendent. 'Every time we go to state in any sport we have a great following. This town is very supportive.'

And with great fans comes a reputation for good behavior at games, which earned the boys team top honors for sportsmanship, a prize Smith was particularly proud of.

Foster said the district and its teams have built an atmosphere of respect at games that is recognized by the award. So despite the final scores of the games, it's the recollection of competing that will linger.

'It's a memory they will have for the rest of their lives,' Foster said. 'Regardless the outcome of the game or anything else, they got to play in the big venue and they just take it with them.'