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Adams caps a stellar career with the Pioneers


All-league honors pile up for the football, basketball and baseball star

by: SANDY POST: FILE PHOTO - Sandys Justin Adams splits a pair of defenders during the teams run to the 5A state basketball tournament. Once in a while, an athlete will come along in a given sport who immediately stands out as unique talent. Then there was Justin Adams.

Adams took the Northwest Oregon Conference by storm during the 2012-13 school year, and he did it in three different sports – football, basketball and baseball. He was the best player on all three teams, and he was the one of the top players in the league in each sport.

“Justin has a tremendous work ethic. He is very intelligent and has a mature take on life and sports. He has a unique balance of motivation, focus and keeping things fun and loose,” Sandy baseball coach Garet Luebbert said. “Despite being confident and very successful, he is also humble and extremely coachable. He has always been unsatisfied and is the type of player that is not afraid to ask more from himself, his teammates and his coaches.”

Adams’ talent was on display early in the school year as Sandy’s starting quarterback. On the gridiron, he took games into his own hands, and feet. Adams threw for 20 touchdowns and more than 2200 yards. He added 10 touchdowns and more than 500 yards on the ground.

For the second straight season, Adams was named to the Northwest Oregon Conference all-league team at the quarterback position. As if that wasn’t enough, he was the team’s punter and made the all-conference 1st team at that position.

When basketball season revved up, Adams didn’t miss a beat. He was daunting in the post on both ends of the court. On defense, Adams disrupted the inside games of virtually every team Sandy faced. His offensive presence was equally imposing as he led the team in scoring and opened up the outside shooting game for the Pioneers’ wing players.

Adams’ rebounding ability was what really made him a complete player. He gave Sandy countless second-chance scoring opportunities while drastically limiting those chances for the Pioneers’ opponents. Sandy coach Jason Maki referred to Adams as the best rebounder in the state of Oregon.

“Justin is a competitor; absolutely loves to compete,” Maki said. “He spent his junior summer working out in the weight room every single day and gained 15-20 pounds of muscle. That made him a force in the paint. The size and strength, coupled with his great competitive nature, made for a great mix.

Plus he's a tough kid who didn't mind a little contact.”

Maki wasn’t the only coach who recognized Adams as a game-changer. Sandy’s big man was named conference player of the year and was selected to the all-state first team. With Adams leading the way, the Pioneers finished second in the NWOC and advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time in more than three decades.

Baseball season gave Adams his one last hurrah before graduating. Even with no offseason following basketball season, it didn’t take long for Adams to become Sandy’s best hitter and its most overpowering pitcher.

Adams hit for average at the plate, and he did it with power. He led the team in batting with an average of .398 and in runs batted in with 23. He also hit six of Sandy’s seven home runs. One of his bombs was the first to be hit at Sandy’s new baseball field. That led up to what was the best week of Adams’ career, perhaps in any sport.

When Sandy squared off against Milwaukie in a three-game set, Adams took the mound in Game 1, and the Mustangs had no chance. Adams threw a no-hitter, and he did it throwing nothing but a fastball. Only one runner reached base in the game. For the season, Adams finished with a record of 6-2 and an earned run average of 1.75.

A few days after no-hitting the Mustangs, Adams destroyed them with his bat as he blasted three homers in Game 3 of the series.

Adams was selected to the NWOC first team as a hitter and a pitcher and was named conference pitcher of the year.

Luebbert attributed Adams’ talent, and more importantly his maturity and leadership, to his upbringing.

“This is a family that really gets ‘it’ and Justin has clearly been raised by parents that have been very realistic and honest with him,” Luebbert said. “His parents and grandparents are responsible and should be praised for a lot of his successes, and I'm not talking about the physical side of things.”

As Adams goes forward from high school, his coaches and teammates believe his successes are far from over, whether it be on the field of play or in the game of life.

Other finalists:

-Blake Robison (football, basketball, baseball): Robison was a 2nd team all-conference selection as a wide receiver on the football field. On the basketball court, Robison was the Sandy's third-leading scorer and earned third team all-league honors. Robison was named to the NWOC 2nd team on the baseball diamond as both a pitcher and an outfielder. On the mound, he had a record of 4-0 had an ERA of 2.36. At the plate, hit .290 and drove in 13 runs.

-Kennedy Salveter (cross country, soccer, swimming, track): Salveter was the only male athlete at Sandy to participate in four sports. He made his biggest splash in the swimming pool as he was one of just two Sandy swimmers to qualify for the state meet.

Other nominees:

Kevin TenEyck (basketball, football, track), Josh Visan (basketball, football, track), Carson Dwyre (football, basketball, baseball), Brody White (cross country, soccer, track), Cody Welty (football, racquetball, baseball), Sam Kalar (football, racquetball, baseball)