Despite its current 21-game winning streak, Summit has struggled to get a read on its place in 6A boys basketball.
The Storm wasn't able to play any Portland-area teams last season, when it won its last nine games and finished 10-2, and has yet to play any teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the OSAAtoday 6A coaches poll this season.
But No. 8 Summit (12-0, 3-0 Mountain Valley Conference) drew much encouragement from two hard-fought home wins over Portland-area teams this season. The Storm defeated Lake Oswego 57-56 on Dec. 20 and Mountainside 47-43 on Jan. 10, teams expected to contend in the Three Rivers League and Metro League, respectively.
“For us, it's just a measuring stick,” Summit coach Jon Frazier said. “Not having a normal season last year, at some point, we've got to play the best teams to see how good we are. I was just impressed with the grit and determination we showed in those close games.”
The senior-dominated Storm felt especially good about its win over Lake Oswego, a perennial 6A contender that led No. 2 West Linn in the final minute before losing last week.
“That was a big step forward for us in understanding that if we can guard with that level of intensity – regardless of whether we're shooting well or not – we can play with anybody,” Frazier said.
In its other 10 games, Summit has been far above the competition, winning by an average margin of 31.6 points. The Storm's next-closest game is a 21-point win over Mountain View.
With five seniors returning as starters from last season, Summit has taken its game up a notch.
“It definitely gave us some momentum going into this year,” Frazier said. “I felt we had a chance to be pretty darn good, but without a normal year as juniors, you're still kind of waiting to see how it all looks. The parts all fit. We've got some talented kids, but they complement each other really well.”
Senior point guard Julian Mora, a fourth-year starter, is averaging 16.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists, shooting 33.9 percent from three-point range (21 for 62). He is on pace to become the program's all-time leading scorer, needing about 150 points to pass Jacob Tompkins, who graduated in 2020.
“I have a hard time believing there's anyone out there quicker, faster, just end line to end line,” Frazier said of Mora. “His ability to get the ball out and push and attack defenses is pretty elite. Fortunately we have a lot of shooters around him, so if he can get into a gap or a seam, he's able to create shots for other guys pretty well.”
Caden Harris, a 6-foot-6 senior wing, is averaging a team-high 18.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. Harris, who missed his sophomore season due to injury after transferring to Summit, has multiple NCAA Division II offers and has drawn Division I interest.
The team's other returning starters are senior guards Truman Teuber (third-year starter) and Carson Cox and senior wing Shane Arnold. Teuber, Cox and sophomore guard Collin Moore each are averaging about eight points per game.
The Summit coaching staff has long had high hopes for the current senior class, which includes two members of the Bend team that played in the Little League World Series in Mora and senior guard Sam Renner.
“This group of seniors has been a special group throughout,” Frazier said. “They've all been pretty high-level, competitive, tough, successful kids since they were little. We've seen this class coming for a long time and know that they have a chance to do some special stuff.”
Summit has never won a state championship, getting as far as the 5A semifinals in 2016. The Storm moved to 6A three years ago and reached the second round of the playoffs in 2020, losing to Jesuit.
Summit's first order of business is the Mountain Valley Conference title. After that, the Storm hopes to make its mark in the 6A postseason before returning to 5A next season. A Central Oregon team hasn't won the big-school title since Redmond in 2003.
“I think we feel really comfortable in those playoff scenarios,” Frazier said. “We're excited to do that, but 6A is a different animal. Moving back to 5A next year, this is kind of our one chance to make a run at it and play against all the Portland schools.”