Lady Pros tie for first by beating Nyssa, Elgin

Ashley Thunell (No. 24), Kim Mathews (left) and Brandi Moles battle a host of Nyssa players for a rebound in Grant Union's 60-34 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday. The victory kept the Prospectors tied for first place in the Wapiti League with a 9-1 record. The Eagle/TIM ADAMS

Grant Union def. Nyssa 60-34

JOHN DAY - The Grant Union girls basketball team held Nyssa to single-digit scoring in the second and third quarters on Saturday, Feb. 8, to post a 60-34 victory over the Bulldogs in Wapiti League action.

The win keeps the Prospectors deadlocked for first place in the league with a 9-1 record.

Coming off a 61-45 win over Elgin on Friday, the Prospectors are 15-5 overall, and are currently ninth-ranked in the state among Class 2A teams.

Grant Union took an 18-10 lead after the first quarter against Nyssa, and a pressing defense allowed the Bulldogs to score just four points in the second period.

The Prospectors tallied 20 points of their own in the second quarter, to hold a commanding 38-14 halftime advantage.

"We knew from when we played them the last time that they couldn't handle our pressure defense very well," Grant Union coach Adam Barrett said. "Our guards did an excellent job putting the pressure on and we were able to play without committing a lot of fouls. That's one thing we've been working on is trying to adjust to the officials, and keep from fouling and giving the other teams the chance to shoot free throws."

Ashley Thunell scored a game-high 18 points for the Prospectors, and teammate Brandi Moles added 13.

"Ashley Thunell had an excellent night tonight," Barrett said. "Defensively, she has to be the best player in the league right now. She's averaging a double-double in every game and shooting the ball very well from the floor and from the free throw line. I have to give her a lot of credit. Amanda Courchesne finished close to a triple-double tonight. I think she was just two points short (in scoring) from getting one. She ran the floor well and did an excellent job feeding our guards and feeding the posts in transition. It was good for us to get out of here with two wins this weekend, with some of the things that have been going on at school."

Allison Sexton, Lora Booth, Lexi Moody and Kayleen Mitchell scored six points each to lead Nyssa.

Grant Union def. Elgin 61-45

ELGIN - The Prospectors raced out to a 16-6 lead after the first period of play in a Wapiti League game against Elgin on Friday, Feb. 7, and never looked back, en route to a 61-45 victory.

By halftime, Grant Union was up 30-21.

"It's tough to win games out of town," Barrett said. "Most of the gyms at the other schools are really dark and as a result, our shooting percentage is down sometimes by as much as 10 percent."

The Prospectors scored 18 additional points in the third quarter to hold a 48-31 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.

"We led the whole game and were up by 18 points late in the contest," Barrett said. "We took the press off and put some of our substitutes in, and they were able to hit a couple of three-pointers to cut the lead to 12 points. That was a little scary."

Thunell was one of four players in double figures, with game-high 19 points to pace the Prospectors' scoring attack. Amy Jones had 14 points, Whitney Simmons 11 and Moles scored 10.

"Next weekend we have some big games coming up," Barrett said. "We have Pine Eagle up there, and we know they'll be ready for us, and then Enterprise at home. We have our hands full, and we still have to face the three best teams in the league, two on the road and one at home. We still have our work cut out for us."

Grant Union plays at 6 p.m. in Halfway against Pine Eagle on Friday, Feb. 14, and squares off against Enterprise in the final home game of the season at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15.

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