JOHN DAY - State's a possibility for the Grant Union High School boys basketball team, thanks to two big wins last weekend.
The Prospectors defeated the Vale Vikings 47-44 on Friday, Feb. 3.
They claimed a home victory the next night over the Nyssa Bulldogs. The score was 65-56.
"The game at Vale was a huge game to keep us in the playoff race," said Grant Union coach Steve Speth. "The team played together well and got a much needed win on Vale's home floor. We battled through the game and showed patience on offense and played good enough defense to maintain a small lead for most of the game."
In the third quarter, Vale made a run to tie the game. The fourth quarter was back and forth, with Grant Union taking a late lead, executing strong offense to seal the win, Speth said.
Freshman Mitch Moulton hit two key free throws late in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Balanced scoring came from many players: Austin Bremner and Joey Nordstrom, each with 9; Trevor Gill, 8; Riley Averett, 6; Mitch Moulton, 5; Kyler Deiter and Kody Nelson, 3 each; Nick Wilson and Jacob Legg, 2 each.
"The home game against Nyssa was another key victory for us," said Speth. "Coming off of an emotional win over Vale the night before, the boys had to refocus against a team that is very scrappy and never gives up."
Nyssa took a 1-point lead in a strong finish to the first quarter.
"We then took control of the game in the second quarter, building the lead up to 10, with better defensive play and execution of our offense," Speth said.
The Pros showed strong offense in the third quarter, as well, pushing the lead to 18. Nyssa rallied to cut the lead to 10 going into the fourth quarter.
"We were able to hold on and push the lead back up to 15 and control the fourth quarter, but Nyssa refused to quit and never allowed us to pull away," he said.
Averett led in scoring with 18; Gill had 11; Legg, 9; Wilson, 8; Bremner and Nelson, each 6; Deiter, 3; and Nordstrom, 2.
The Prospectors entered the week with three games left on the schedule. A nonleague home game with Crane was set for Tuesday, Feb. 7, with results not available at the Eagle's deadline.
Games on Friday, Feb. 10, at Burns and on Tuesday, Feb. 14, hosting Vale, will determine which teams finish in second through fourth place, said Speth.
"Burns, Vale and Grant Union could all end up as high as second place, or as low as fourth place and get put out of the state playoffs," he said.
Vale pulled a 52-48 upset victory at Burns Feb. 4, putting them in a stronger position in the playoff chase.