The Grant Union Prospector girls held on to their early lead Thursday, Dec. 28, to defeat the Prairie City Panthers 51-22 in John Day.
“I thought we came out ready to play from the get-go,” said Grant Union head coach Casey Hallgarth.
He said his team had been in a shooting slump, and now they’re starting to jell.
After some back and forth on the court, Prospector Hailie Wright scored off of a steal for the first two points of the game.
Prairie City’s Brianna Zweygardt answered back, scoring two for the Panthers; however, it would be Prairie City’s only points for the first quarter, with Grant Union jumping to a 12-point lead.
The Panthers had a stronger second quarter, scoring eight, but the Prospectors finished the first half with a 23-10 lead.
Prospector Kaylee Wright scored twice to start the third quarter.
Panther Cassie Hire drained a three-pointer and combined with Zweygardt for eight points in the period.
Grant Union stayed a step ahead, outshooting Prairie City by two for a 33-18 lead going into the fourth.
The Prospectors ended the game with some fire under their feet.
Mariah Moulton and Kaylee Wright each scored a three-pointer to start the final quarter, followed by another two each, including Kaylee Wright scoring off of a steal.
Kaytlyn Wells, Mariah Wright and Whitney McClellan also contributed points for Grant Union, holding Prairie City to four in those final minutes.
Prospector Kaylee Wright led the scoring for both teams with 19, followed by Panther Brianna Zweygardt with 13.
Eight Grant Union players contributed to their win.
“Grant Union is a pretty seasoned team,” said Prairie City head coach Bo Workman. “They showed us our weaknesses.”
Workman said his team is looking forward to hosting Monument/Dayville at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, in Prairie City and said he expects an exciting game.
Hallgarth said Prairie City is a well-coached team, and his team prepared to face the Panthers’ two taller players, Zweygardt and Cassie Hire.
“Once we made a couple adjustments, we got in sync,” Hallgarth said. “That’s the best team ball we’ve played this year.”
Moulton was happy with the win.
“This game was when our defense all clicked,” she said. “Eventhough it was a nonleague game, they still tested us.”
She said she’s looking forward to good competition on the road next week.
The Prospector girls will face Weston-McEwen at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4, in Athena and Lakeview at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6.
Hallgarth expects Weston-McEwen will play quick in the game like his team, and noted Lakeview, with a couple tall girls, will be tough.
“If we keep playing like we are, we can compete with a lot of teams,” he said.
Kaylee Wright: 19 points
Hailie Wright: 9
Madi McKrola: 5
Whitney McClellan: 5
Mariah Moulton: 5
Mariah Wright: 4
Trinity Hutchison: 2
Kaytlyn Wells: 2
Brianna Zweygardt: 13
Cassie Hire: 5
Hailee Wall: 2
Katie Hire: 2