JOHN DAY - The Prospectors swung the ball around the perimeter and it arrived in Sam Rawlins' hands. Rawlins lined up in the corner just outside the threepoint line and let it fly. Swish.
The Grant Union boys varsity basketball season took off with a running start Nov. 28 night at home in John Day as they hosted the Culver Bulldogs and notched their first win of the season, 57-47.
Rawlins played a big offensive role in the first half for the Prospectors as he connected on two, three pointers and completed a three-point play at the free-throw line to finish the first half leading all scorers with nine points.
Culver was not about to be blown out though, and played the Prospectors toe-to-toe for three quarters. The Bulldogs fought back from a first quarter deficit of 11-2, to go into half-time trailing by only three, 25-22.
The third quarter was a tug of war between the two teams, but neither could establish any sort of control and ended with Grant Union clinging to a four-point lead, 36-32.
The fourth quarter was a completely different story. The Prospectors turned up the heat on defense and forced the Bulldogs into errant passes and bad shots which they converted into points on the other end. The Prospectors stretched the lead to 16 points at one juncture and used solid free-throw shooting by Tyler Roberts and Taylor Myers to put the game on ice and secure the victory.
As the student section counted down the final seconds, Taylor Myers threw the ball into the air and the players celebrated their way off the floor.
After the game, Grant Union head coach Brad Smith was happy with the win, but acknowledged there was still work to be done.
"I was happy with the way we came back strong to win the game," said Smith, "But we'll get better as the year goes along. It was good to just get the first win of the year."
Smith also mentioned some key players that helped with the win.
"I thought Myers and Roberts played well at the end," said Smith. "Sam Rawlins also helped us a lot."
The win gives the Prospectors a quick start to a season that figures to have a lot of tough competition ahead for them.
The next challenge for the Prospectors will be a Dec. 9 game when they host Lakeview at 2 p.m.