Lady Prospectors  even up record to 3-3

<p> </p> <p>Taylor Smith, the main ball handler for the Pros, combined for 14 points this week.</p>

JOHN DAY – Despite 13 points from Mikeala Donahue and nine boards, the Lady Prospectors dropped their first home game since Dec. 14 to Heppner 44-50 last Friday.

The girls staged a comeback to claim their third league win on Saturday, outscoring Stanfield 50-32.

Against Heppner, the teams battled back and forth in the first and fourth quarters, with numerous jump balls and more than 35 steals.

Heppner began by challenging the Prospectors with a full-court press, which the Prospectors handled with ease, their superior transition defense putting points on the board early.

Late in the first quarter, the Mustang press turned successful and they scored 6 unanswered points to extend their lead to 6 at the end of the quarter.

As Heppner slowed the game down and shuffled its offense, Grant Union shifted to a zone defense that allowed them to double-team and shut down Heppner’s post players.

Grant Union’s junior point guard Taylor Smith put top-of-the-key pressure on the Mustangs and created opportunities for the Pros, breaking through the Mustangs’ man-to-man and zone defenses.

A defensive focus on Smith left shooting guard Preslie Thompson open behind the arch, where she hit two 3-pointers to bring the Prospectors back within striking range of the lead.

Grant Union surged late in the second quarter to deliver a 6-0 run in the last 1:20 of the half. At the half, Grant Union trailed by just 2, at 25-27.

Both teams took advantage of every possession in the second half as if there were only seconds remaining.

Intense defensive pressure from Grant Union freshman Rheanna Cartner and Heppner turnovers allowed the Prospectors to take the lead in the third quarter.

The Pros were up 2 to start the third – eight minutes of intense, fast-paced basketball.

As Heppner was called for its eighth foul of the half, Grant Union started shooting bonus foul shots.

With good ball movement, the Prospectors worked the ball down low, but couldn’t buy a bucket as the Mustangs took a 6-point lead in the final minutes. Both teams utilized their allotted timeouts, making every possession count.

A couple of pivotal screens and some aggressive cutting gave the Mustangs the edge for the 50-44 win.

The breakdown

Donahue 13 points, 9 rebounds; Wright 9 points, 6 rebounds; Smith 6 points; Thompson 6 points.

Stanfield

Behind 15 points and five boards from Rayne Houser, the Lady Prospectors shot their way to a 50-32 victory over Stanfield on Saturday in front of their home crowd.

Aggressive play seemed to be paying off, as the Prospectors enter the heart of league play.

With a 3-3 record, head coach Raime Lequerica is optimistic. She said the team is coming together, limiting turnovers and working hard to crash the boards.

She cited consistent shooting by Wright from behind the 3-point line and step-up performances from Houser, Smith, Thompson and Cartner.

“They took care of busininess instead of playing down to their opponents’ level,” said Lequerica. “I am very proud of their performances.”

The Prospectors host Enterprise this Friday, Jan. 11, at 6 p.m.

The breakdown

Houser 15 points, 5 rebounds; Smith 8 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists; Wright 9 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists; Hailey McConnell 5 rebounds 8 assists; Donahue, 10 rebounds, 5 points; Cartner 4 points.

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