NYSSA – Just one point.

 The Grant Union High School boys basketball team lost 41-42 last Friday, Jan. 7 to the Nyssa Bulldogs.

 “We came out wanting to put full court pressure on the ball, as we felt their ball handling was a weakness and we could score in transition,” said coach Pete Rawlins. “We ended up causing some turnovers, but also turned the ball over some in transition.”

 The Prospectors had two, 3-point baskets in the first by Ross Rawlins and Ian Averett, and ended the first quarter up 9-6.

 In the second quarter, Averett continued to shoot well. The team had a nice double-digit lead.

 “A big blow with 45 seconds left in the second quarter when Averett was called for what was perceived by the officials to be a flagrant foul,” said Rawlins. He was ejected from the game. The Pros went into halftime leading 20 to 15.

 “The third quarter we struggled to score, and really missed our big man (Averett) in the middle. Nyssa outscored us and led 33-28 at the end of the third,” Rawlins said.

 In the fourth quarter, some key scoring came from Nick Wilson and Trevor Gill, and the game was back and forth to the end. Wilson scored a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left. “We were out of time-outs and Nyssa ran the clock out. Game over,” Rawlins said.

 “I was really disappointed with this loss, as it was our first league game and against an opponent I think we should have beat. We were very prepared for this game, but did not shoot the ball very well, and still had too many turnovers,” he said.

 “The real difference was losing Averett. Ian is a fine young man and has shown real leadership for the entire team this year. It is a really unfortunate situation. Ian is an impacting player for us, and we missed him dearly in the second half, but I was proud of the boys that stepped up to fill the gap,” said Rawlins. “We hung in there and kept ourselves in a position to win the game, but unfortunately it went the other way in the end.”

 Wilson was top scorer with 10 points, followed by Brent Labhart, 9; Averett, 7; Gill, 6; Ross Rawlins, 5; and Cody Wright and Kyler Deiter, each with 2.

 The team travels to Boardman to play the Riverside Pirates this Friday, Jan. 14. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.

 The game is followed by a matchup with the Umatilla Vikings on Saturday, Jan. 15. Tipoff is 4:30 p.m.

 “This long road trip is always tough. Riverside is very good this year and currently ranked number 6 in the state in the Oregon School Activities Association Power Rankings,” said Rawlins.

 Because of the call in the Nyssa game, Averett must also sit out this game.

 “Riverside’s biggest threat is 6-foot-5 Marco Carranza. We will have to find a way to contain him in order to be successful,” Rawlins added.

 After spending the night in Boardman, the Prospectors play at the Umatilla Vikings’ home court at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15. Averett will be on board for the game.

 “The Vikings have played some really tough teams in preseason, and are always tough when they’re playing on their home court. It is also known as ‘the pit,’” said Rawlins.

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