JOHN DAY In their first home playoff game in more than a decade, the Grant Union Prospectors were hoping to capture the momentum from their last home win of the season.
The Central Linn Cobras proved to be too much, however, and downed the Prospectors, 57-44, last Friday, Feb. 22.
Dressed in black from head to toe, Grant Unions student section energized the capacity crowd as both teams sought to take control early, shooting from long range and hitting the boards aggressively.
Mitch Moulton led the Prospectors in scoring with 16 points and Jacob Legg garnered 10 rebounds, as the Pros tried for a spot in the second round of the OSAA playoffs.
Defense was strong in the first quarter, holding both teams to just 7 points at the end of the first quarter.
Head coach Steve Speth pressed his players to block easy shots from Central Linn and get tough on rebounding and ball protection.
Below-average scoring from both teams continued, but second-, third- and fourth-chance shots kept the score within one possession most of the second quarter.
The Cobras continued to find seams in the Prospectors zone defense, with an uptempo transition offense giving them a 17-11 lead at the 4:47 mark in the second quarter.
Mitch Moulton hit his third 3-pointer of the night with just under 2:30 left in the half, as the Prospectors led 22-21.
Four unanswered points by the Cobras put them up 25-22 at the half.
Both teams opened up the third quarter, finding their marks from behind the arc, including three consecutive 3s by Moulton and Kody Nelson.
At the end of the third quarter, the Cobras led by two points, 34-32.
In the final quarter, the Cobras took control, changing a one-possession game to a 14-point lead in less than three minutes.
Central Linn freshman guard Will Smith hit three of his teams four 3-point shots in the final two minutes of regulation to put the Cobras up 55-44 with just 58 seconds to go.
Despite a 3-point bucket by Jacob Legg, the Cobras ran away with a 57-44 victory, pushing the Prospectors out of the state tournament.
The Prospectors finished the season with a 12-4 league record and a 14-11 overall record.
Moulton 16 points, Nelson 10, Legg 7, Joey Nordstrom 6, Rayce Houser 5, Legg 10 rebounds.