The Prairie City boys basketball team will be heading into the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tires District 4-1A Tournament as the No. 3 seed from the Old Oregon League thanks to a pair of weekend victories over Wallowa and Adrian.
On Friday, Feb. 14, the Panthers took a 43-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter against Wallowa, and then had to hang on as two starting players fouled out to come away with a 60-55 victory.
In their final home game of the season on Saturday, Feb. 15, the Panthers mauled Adrian 81-53 to finish the season at 7-5 in the league and 10-9 overall.
Prairie City finished in a tie with Crane for third place in the Old Oregon League, but by virtue of a coin flip will go to the tournament in Baker City as the No. 3 team to face Burnt River in today's opening round of play.
Prairie City def. Wallowa 60-55
PRAIRIE CITY - In a key game with a possible trip to the post-season playoffs hanging in the balance, all a coach can ask for is that his senior players step up and deliver.
On Friday, Feb. 14, that's exactly what happened as Prairie City's Josh Moulton and Tyler Waggoner scored 22 and 21 points respectively to give the Panthers a 60-55 victory over Wallowa.
The win upped the Panthers' record to 6-5 in the Old Oregon League and 9-9 overall, keeping Prairie City's hopes alive for a spot in the District 4-1A playoffs.
"Josh and Tyler really stepped up tonight," Prairie City coach Gene Mills said. "All the kids played hard and I was proud of them. Some of our younger kids went in and played really good ball too."
Prairie City took a 13-12 lead after the first quarter, and then held Wallowa scoreless from the field in the second quarter to lead 29-21 at halftime.
The Cougars were able to stay close in the second period thanks to hitting nine of 14 attempts from the free throw line.
In the third quarter, Prairie City out-scored Wallowa 14-12 to hold a 10-point, 43-33 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
Things got scary in the final eight minutes of action as Waggoner fouled out of the game with 3:50 remaining and Moulton went to the bench with his fifth foul at the 1:50 mark.
"Fouls hurt us again and that's something we've been trying to get away from. Fortunately, it wasn't enough to make a difference," Mills said. "We have a good bunch of kids and it was a good game. Thankfully, we were able to hang on and get the win."
Wallowa got hot from the outside in the fourth quarter knocking down three three-pointers and scoring a total of 22 points, but the Panthers' lead was just too much to overcome.
Evan Fast contributed six points to the Prairie City effort and teammate Ariel Winegar had five.
Randy Spaur led Wallowa with 22 points, and Dustin Byers added 10.
Prairie City def. Adrian 81-53
PRAIRIE CITY - The Panthers put together a balanced scoring attack in Saturday's game against the Antelopes with four players in double figures.
Moulton led the way with a game-high 24 points. Winegar had 14, Waggoner 13 and Brandon Lovell scored 10 in the 81-53 victory.
"We got up and down the floor pretty good on them," Mills said. "It was a fun Saturday for all the kids. We ran the court well and had our shots go down."