JOHN DAY - The Grant Union High School girls basketball team never gave up in tough competition against Eastern Oregon League leaders last week.
The Lady Prospectors lost a hard-fought battle 29-67 at Vale, the EOL frontrunner, on Feb. 3.
The Grant Union girls also lost 33-59 at home to the league's No. 3 team, Nyssa, the next day.
Against Vale, Grant Union played hard to the end of the game, said coach Pete Rawlins.
In the second half, the Lady Pros stepped up defensive pressure. Grant Union's Sarah Wright and Elle Rawlins chipped in three 3-point goals.
The Grant Union players executed some good offense, despite their high-caliber opponents, coach Rawlins said.
Its beneficial to play a team with that speed and intensity. It will help us toward our future goals, he said. One of our goals was to focus on getting defensive stops. It was difficult.
Scoring for the Lady Pros were Wright, with 9 points; Rawlins, 8; DJ Kodesh, 4; and Taylor Smith, Emily Mosley, Rayne Houser and Mikeala Donahue, 2 each.
The Lady Pros started strong against Nyssa, forcing early turnovers and taking an early lead. Then, Nyssa went on a run to take the lead at the end of the first quarter.
Grant Union played tough in the second. Elle Rawlins hit five perimeter shots in the first half, including three 3-point field goals.
We continued making stops and finding ways to score, narrowing Nyssas lead to 6 points with two minutes left in the third, said Rawlins. The Lady Bulldogs started hitting perimeter shots in the fourth and outscored us 21-7, to put the game away and come out with the win.
It was a physical game, said Rawlins.
Although our girls were outsized, they showed how much heart and grit they have by just flat out being tough, he said.
They werent afraid to hit the deck after loose balls.
Elle Rawlins scored well from the perimeter, and Kodesh and Houser were tough inside, the coach said. He lauded Donahue for some big free-throws, Wright and Taylor Smith for pressure on the court, and Mosley, a freshman, for playing some big minutes.
Nyssa edged Vale in a 42-40 game on Jan. 27, and lost to Burns 41-42 on Feb. 3.
For us to compete with Nyssa really shows how much we have improved during the season, he said.
I was excited to see our young girls play so tough, Rawlins noted. The girls continue to work hard, looking towards the future.
Elle Rawlins led the game with 17 points; Taylor Smith had 7; Wright, 3; Houser, Donahue and Kodesh, 2 each.
The Grant Union girls were set to play a nonleague home game Tuesday, Feb. 7, then two final league games: Friday, Feb. 10, at Burns, and Tuesday, Feb. 14, against Vale at home in John Day.