The local fans got their money's worth

PORTLAND — Fans from the Rogue Valley who ventured here to see Oregon take on No. 1 Duke and witness brothers Kyle and E.J. Singler on the basketball court again weren't disappointed.

"This is so awesome to see both Kyle and E.J. on the court at the same time," said Carol Fischer of Medford. "I feel like I'm at a state tournament with the South Medford boys."

Kyle and E.J. helped South Medford win the 2007 Class 6A state championship.

One of their teammates and family members, cousin Mitch Singler, was in attendance. The Oregon State football player didn't make the trip to Stanford.

"It's crazy," he said, "something that I never imagined happening. It's great to see. Playing with them my sophomore year was the best experience of my life. To actually get to see them play for the first time, it's just a touching moment for our family."

It didn't surprise him when Kyle and E.J. had to be warned for roughhousing on the jump ball to start the game.

"It was funny to see," said Mitch Singler. "That's just who we are. We're a competitive family."

Naturally, parents Kris and Ed Singler were courtside. They donned shirts that were half Oregon Duck, half Duke Blue Devil and cheered every positive play by each side.

"I just hoped they'd come out and play hard, have fun and enjoy the moment," Kris said at halftime, after Oregon had fallen behind by 19, then whittled the deficit to 15 by the break. "And I think they are."

Kyle had 15 first-half points. E.J. was scoreless and had two fouls.

"I think Oregon's playing them tough but I wish E.J. wasn't in foul trouble and was out there a little more," she said. "But Kyle had a great first half. We'll get E.J. going in the second half."

Sure enough, E.J. scored 14 points after intermission.

Dennis Murphy, who coached the Singlers at South Medford, watched Kyle score 30 points and noted that his greatest area of improvement since high school, the mid- to long-range jumper, was evident.

"He came out and it looked like Duke was trying to do some things for him," said Murphy, who sold 925 tickets for the game to Medford-area fans. "And he surely came out trying to score the ball. Some of the games I've watched, I'm not certain he felt the need to score, but maybe he wanted to today. He shot the ball very well."

Tom Cole, who coaches the South Medford girls team and is the executive director of Kids Unlimited, which hosts the Kyle Singler tournament each spring, credited Oregon with playing hard but thought the Ducks were intimidated by having the much bigger Blue Devils "contest every shot."

As for watching the Singlers?

"It's pretty amazing to see two kids at this level on this court," he said. "That's exciting stuff. And Kyle is showing up. There's a reason why Coach K is leaving him in the game the entire time. Everyone else is getting subbed. He's not coming out."

Kyle played the first 35 minutes before leaving to a rousing applause.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or e-mail

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