Grant Union girls place seventh following bouts with illness

Kim Mathews (No. 10) works the ball around the Colton defense as teammate Brandi Moles (No. 25) sets a block in the fourth-place game of the Class 2A state basketball championships at the Pendleton Convention Center. Grant Union took an early lead in the game, but Colton rallied for a 54-48 victory. The Eagle/TIM ADAMS

Colton def. Grant Union 54-48

PENDLETON - The illness-plagued Grant Union Lady Prospectors put forth a courageous effort against Colton in the fourth-place/seventh-place game on Saturday, March 8, of the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Class 2A basketball championships at the Pendleton Convention Center.

With point guards Amanda Courchesne and Ashley Krausse both battling illness, the Lady Pros came out like gangbusters, jumping out to an 11-0 lead to begin the game.

Grant Union hung tough protecting the lead for the majority of the contest, but ran out of steam in the fourth quarter and Colton came away with a 52-48 victory to take home the fourth-place trophy.

The Prospectors concluded an outstanding year winning the Wapiti League title during the regular season and finished seventh overall in the state with a 21-7 record.

"Amanda (Courchesne) went home sick after the game against Central Linn and spent all day Friday in bed," Barrett reported before the Colton game. "I don't know how much she is going to be able to play today, but she's going to try. Ashley (Krausse) is also sick, so I'm worried about our point-guard situation."

Grant Union held a 17-12 lead after the first quarter of action before the Vikings mounted a rally late in the second quarter to narrow the margin to a single point, 25-24, at halftime.

"We came out and had an excellent first quarter," Barrett said. "Our posts stepped up and our guards were able to get them the ball. In the second quarter they started pressuring us a bit, and we had a more difficult time getting the ball inside."

A basket by Brandi Moles opened the third quarter to up the lead to 27-24, and when Ashley Thunell scored at the 6:42 mark, the Lady Prospectors were ahead 29-25.

Colton battled back to shave the lead to 32-31, but Thunell knocked down a three-pointer with two minutes left to give Grant Union a 39-32 advantage.

A Weigum basket with 1:07 left accounted for the final scoreing of the period, and Grant Union went into the final eight minutes of the game with a 41-36 lead.

Weigum tallied a pair of quick baskets from the inside to open the fourth quarter and give the Lady Prospectors a 45-36 lead, but things began to go sour when Simmons fouled out with 6:29 left in the game.

The Vikings went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 45-44 before Jones scored for the Prospectors to put the lead back to three points, 47-44.

Megan Adams hit a basket for Colton and Michelle Brown tied the game, 47-47, on a 1 of 2 effort from the free throw line.

With 3:59 in the game, Kathryn Burns scored to give Colton its first lead, 49-47.

In the waning moments, Jessica Ouellette hit a free throw to up the Viking lead to three points, but a Moles free throw cut the lead to 50-48.

Trailing by two points, the Lady Prospectors were forced to commit fouls, and free throws by Brittney and Megan Adams put the game away.

"Ashley Krausse did a heck of a job running the floor the with Amanda out," said Barrett. "I'm proud of these kids. A seventh-place finish is an awesome feeling for these kids, and I wouldn't trade these kids for anything in the world."

Thunell led the Prospector scoring attack with a game-high 16 points. Weigum added 13 and Moles had seven.

Brown scored 14 points and Megan Adams had 13 for Colton.

Grant Union def. Central Linn 44-35

PENDLETON - The Grant Union Lady Prospectors put the disappointment of losing to Myrtle Point behind them in the fourth-place semifinal game of the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tires Class 2A State Tournament against Central Linn on Thursday evening, March 6.

The Lady Pros out-ran, out-gunned and out-defended the Cobras in the first half of the game at the Convention Center taking a commanding 23-8 lead after the first 16 minutes of action, and went on to post a 44-35 victory to advance to Saturday's fourth-place game against Colton.

"We came out ready to play the first half and we just got after it," Barrett said. "There were tears all night last night about not being able to play for a state title and that took a lot out of us, but at the same time I have a bunch of seniors and Amanda Courchesne. Those six seniors and Amanda said we're going to go out and get it done."

Central Linn took a 2-0 lead on a basket by Rachelle Province to open the game, but after that the Cobras were held scoreless until Lindsie Clarke went 1 for 2 from the free throw line with 1:25 left in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, baskets by Thunell, Simmons, Weigum and another by Bobbie Vidourek propelled the Lady Pros to an 8-2 lead they would never surrender for the remainder of the game.

Thunell and Simmons scored their second baskets of the period, and the first quarter ended with Grant Union holding a 12-3 lead.

In the second period, the tough Prospector pressure defense held the Cobras scoreless from the field until Candace Knuths put in a shot with 11 seconds remaining in the quarter.

By that time, thanks to free throws by Thunell and Weigum and the a pair of three-pointers by Vidourek, Grant Union upped the lead to 23-8 at halftime.

The Cobras mounted an attempt at a comeback in the third quarter behind the scoring of Kendall Dionne and Province putting 12 points on the board, but Moles scored six points of her own and the Prospectors went into the final eight minutes of the game with a 33-20 lead.

"I believe we're one of the top teams in the state," Barrett said. "It's too bad that we lost to Myrtle Point the way we did, and I wish we had the chance to play for the state title because I believe we can compete with anyone right now."

The loss to Myrtle Point turned out to be an ironic one for Grant Union, as the Bobcats won the state championship defeating Gold Beach 54-43 on Saturday.

Things got a little tense in the fourth quarter when a pair of free throws by Province cut the Grant Union lead to five points, 34-29 with 4:19 left in the game.

Moles scored on a three-point play on the Prospectors' next possession to increase the lead to seven points, but a three-pointer by Dionne with 2:34 left made the score 37-32.

Marlyn Empen hit a free throw for Central Linn to narrow the Grant Union lead to four, 37-33, but then it was the Lady Pros turn to make things happen at the charity stripe.

Weigum hit a put-back off a Courchesne missed free throw at the 1:16 mark, and after Province had hit two from the line, Thunell hit a pair for the Lady Pros and Courchesne scored two more with 10 seconds left to put the game out of reach.

"We held our poise and held our composure down the stretch," Barrett said. "Amy (Jones) had a couple of huge, monstrous rebounds down the stretch which really helped out, and Amanda Courchesne hit a couple of clutch free throws. We didn't hit our free throws against Myrtle Point, but we were able to hit them tonight down the stretch and that was a big boost for us. It's good to have our band up here tonight and Mary Anne Vidourek does an excellent job with them. We didn't expect them to be here but it was great that they were. We fed off them and it was just like being at home."

Grant Union put together a balanced scoring attack led by Moles with 10 points. Weigum scored nine and Thunell had eight points and pulled down eight rebounds. Vidourek had eight points and Simmons scored five points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Dionne scored a game-high 15 points to lead Central Linn, and Province had 12.

Myrtle Point def. Grant Union 36-35

PENDLETON - Kaylie Towne sank one of two free throws with three-and-a-half seconds left in the game, and the Myrtle Point girls pulled out a 36-35 victory over Grant Union in the quarterfinals of the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tires Class 2A state basketball championships at Pendleton High School's Warburg Court on Wednesday, March 5.

"Our kids played hard, and really stepped up in the third and fourth quarters with Amanda (Courchesne) on the bench," Grant County coach Adam Barrett said. "What we have to do now is find a way to regroup and bounce back. It takes a lot out of us knowing we could have beat a team that was No. 3 in the state and advance to the semifinals."

Coming off a 46-41 victory over Bonanza in the opening round of the championships on Tuesday, the Lady Prospectors took charge in the opening quarter against the third-ranked Bobcats, the second- seeded team from District No. 5, taking a 13-10 lead after the first eight minutes of action.

Brandi Moles was major force in the paint for Grant Union in the first quarter, scoring eight points on put-backs and close-in shots.

In the slow-paced second quarter of action, Myrtle Point managed to tie the game at the 6:14 mark on a 1 for 2 effort at the free throw line by Brittany Gurney, and took the lead when Towne sank a pair from the charity stripe with 5:13 remaining in the first half.

The Prospectors managed to score just five points in the quarter, and went into the break down 19-18.

"We didn't shoot the ball very well today," said Barrett.

In the third quarter point guard Amanda Courchesne went to the bench after picking up her fourth foul with 6:32 remaining, and a three-point play by Towne at the 5:47 mark gave the Bobcats a 24-20 lead.

"It really hurt us having Amanda on the bench. If she'd been out there the whole time, we probably would have won the game," said Barrett.

Lisa Weigum scored for the Prospectors to narrow the lead to 24-22, but Amanda Johnson knocked down a three-pointer to put Myrtle Point up by five, 27-22.

A Weigum free throw shaved the lead back to four points before Johnson tallied again to give the Bobcats their largest lead of the game, 29-23, with 2:33 remaining in the quarter.

Ashley Thunell scored for the Prospectors and Whitney Simmons went 1 for 2 from the line, and Grant Union went into the final quarter of play down 29-26.

Simmons opened the fourth quarter of play with a basket at the 5:21 mark to bring the Lady Pros to within a single point, 29-28, and after the two teams traded baskets, Thunell gave Grant Union its first lead since the opening quarter with a hoop at the 3:18 mark.

Holding the lead, the Lady Pros committed back-to-back turnovers, and a basket by Lacey Rice put Myrtle Point back in front 33-32.

"Coming down the stretch, all I asked was that my kids give us a chance to win and the kids did, but we broke down defensively on two possessions at the defensive end (of the floor)," Barrett said. "At the same time, the kids kept battling back. I don't know how many points we were down, but we kept battling back one possession at a time. We got a couple of back-door layins to put us back in it. What we have to do now is find a way to regroup and come ready to play tomorrow and then try to bring home some hardware on Saturday."

With 56 seconds remaining in the game, Simmons tied the score 33-33 hitting 1 of 2 from the free throw line.

Towne put the Bobcats back in front 35-33 with a pair of free throws, but a basket by Thunell on the Lady Pros next possession tied the score once again.

After Myrtle Point coach Marty Stallard called a time out, the Bobcats came down the floor and Towne drew a foul to set up the winning score.

Moles led the Lady Pros with 10 points. Thunell added nine and Simmons hit for five.

Towne and Erika Nay paced the Lady Bobcats with 11 and 10 points respectively.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.