Switching to Panther Blue

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon is familiar with sports rivalries. There’s the Civil War, and on a smaller scale in Medford, there’s the Black and Blue Game. Most people feel pressured to pick one side, but South Medford’s Mark Winans has worn the black and the blue.

“I like North,” Winans said. “I enjoyed my time there, but I feel like South’s just been the better place for me overall: friends, school. I just really enjoy it.”

“We knew that as a returning player from North Medford on that great basketball team they had last year, he would be very good,” South Medford head coach Dennis Murphy said. “Surely help us and make us better. He’s done that.”

Winans transferred from North Medford to South Medford this year, and while the junior says he’s happy with his new digs, it’s a weird feeling seeing his former teammates on the other side.

“It was weird because I’ve never played against North before.,” he said. “So it was a different experience, but it was really fun, too, for the new experience.”

And the 6’1″ junior’s fit right in for the Panthers. He’s currently in the top ten in the 6A Southern Oregon League in scoring.

“He’s settled into his role,” Murphy said. “He does a lot of good things for us, and he’s becoming a better basketball player.”

“I think Murphy and the rest of my teammates have just really embraced me,” Winans said, “and I’m just really happy with how they’ve taken me in and taught me everything and taught me the system. I feel like I’ve been here my whole high school experience.”

He’s a Panther now, and his only focus is beating his former team.