Pros prosper with last minute wins

<I>The Eagle/David Heldreth</i><BR>Grant Union's Austin Ranft dribbles on the perimeter of the court as he's guarded by a Burns' defender during the teams' Friday, Jan. 30 game in John Day.

JOHN DAY - The Grant Union boys basketball team continues to find ways to convert close games to wins.

The Prospectors beat Burns 63-59 in a come-from-behind overtime victory Friday, Jan. 30. Grant Union trailed the Hilanders through regulation time except a minute-long period of the first quarter.

However, the Pros fought back from a 46-39 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter. They outscored the Hilanders 15-8 in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Grant Union took a timeout after a turnover on an errant Burns pass with 30 seconds remaining. Grant Union's James Webb hit a shot from the post to tie the game 54-54 and force the overtime period.

The Pros took advantage of the momentum and went on a 7-0 run to start the period. Burns closed the gap to three on a shot by Carraig Colahan, but Grant Union's Dalton Moore hit a free throw with 2.1 seconds left in the game to make it a two-possession game. Burns never got a second possession and the game ended as a Hilander threw a futile nearly full-court shot that came up short.

Moore said the Pros seem to take time to warm up during games.

"We just play in the moment," Moore said. "We are a second-half team and I think it kind of carried over from football. We find ways to win. When I was at the (free throw) line I thought I better step up like Cody (Williams) and Cash (Wenick) in the weeks before."

Grant Union has seen several nail-biting finishes in recent weeks. In 10 days the Pros have won five-straight games and only one of the games ended with a lead of more than four points. They beat Ontario 71-70 Tuesday, Jan. 20, on a late free throw from Wenick and Umatilla 62-61 on a pair of free throws from Cody Williams.

Austin Ranft led the Pros with 16 points against Burns. Gage Immoos was close behind with 10 points. Grant Union's post pitched in with eight points from Ian Averett, Webb and Wenick during the game.

Averett and Wenick both struggled with fouls during the game. They each had four fouls before the start of the fourth quarter.

Grant Union coach Jason Miller said Webb saw extra minutes due to Wenick's and Averett's foul trouble.

"I just put James (Webb) in there and he got great shots," Miller said. "He got in there and was effective, but it wasn't just him. The whole team stepped up and filled in."

The Pros are now in second place in the Eastern Oregon League (EOL) with a record of 4-1 and an overall record of 12-6. They share a 4-1 EOL record with Nyssa, but the Bulldogs beat Grant Union 53-40 Saturday, Jan. 17 in Nyssa. The Jan. 17 win gave Nyssa the tie-breaker for first place in the league.

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