Evergreen athletes looking to turn Plainsmen into winners

Boys basketball team off to a 5-1 start after a successful football campaign

VANCOUVER — The Evergreen Plainsmen were a surprise playoff team this past football season, and now they are turning heads in the boys basketball season.

“I think it’s very big for Evergreen in general,” Zyell Griffin said. “We’re on the come-up. We’re showing we are not the old Evergreen. Being successful in both sports is a pretty big in changing the school around.”

Camren Smith (0), Zyell Griffin (4), Carter Monda (23), Kiefer Lopez (10), Tae Marks (12), and Nathan Lien (34) all played football for Evergreen this past season and now are helping the basketball team to a fast start. Photo by Paul Valencia
Camren Smith (0), Zyell Griffin (4), Carter Monda (23), Kiefer Lopez (10), Tae Marks (12), and Nathan Lien (34) all played football for Evergreen this past season and now are helping the basketball team to a fast start. Photo by Paul Valencia

Griffin is one of six varsity basketball players who also played football for the Plainsmen. The multi-sport athlete is a big part of helping the Plainsmen take positive steps in their athletics.

Evergreen football had its first winning regular season since 2008. The basketball team started 5-0, which included wins over four Class 4A programs. Evergreen took down Battle Ground, a state playoff team a year ago. The Plainsmen also beat Skyview, another program that is often in contention to go to state.

The Plainsmen lost in game six to Union on Wednesday. No shame there. Union has blown out every team it has faced this season.

The Plainsmen would have preferred to play better against the Titans, but they certainly are not down and out after one loss.

“Our coaching staffs have just really stepped it up,” said Tae Marks, referring to the football and basketball coaches. “Even if we lose, they make us feel like champions. We go into the next game feeling like a champion.”

Their friends are noticing, too. 

“That’s probably the biggest we’ve seen the crowd in a while,” Monda said of Wednesday’s turnout. 

All of the lower-level seats were filled in Evergreen’s gym. The upper bleachers were half-filled, while many people decided to stand along the rails of the balcony around the court to watch the Plainsmen take on the Titans. 

“Lots of energy,” Monda said.

The two teams came into the game with a combined 11-0 record. 

That had to feel good for the Plainsmen, regardless of the outcome in one game. Evergreen went 8-12 last year and did not qualify for the postseason.

“It shows we are able to do it,” Griffin said. “It shows we are a good team.”

“We’re here. We’re not leaving,” Monda said. “We’re staying. It’s going to be hard to get rid of us.”

Griffin said having so many football players on the basketball team has helped, too. They got to carry over that bond from one season to the next. 

“I think that’s big,” he said.

Monda and Marks are three-sport athletes for the Plainsmen this school year.

“It’s tiring but it’s fun at the same time,” Monda said. “Non-stop sports. Non-stop time with your buddies.”

“I’m always in shape,” Marks said. “It just keeps you going. Multi-sport athletes have the most school spirit. You’re just representing Evergreen in every way.”

Advertisement

About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

Related posts