JOHN DAY The Dayville/Monument boys varsity team came back after a loss to Crane to defeat Adrian and lock a spot in the state playoffs starting on Feb. 22.
The Tigers began district action last Thursday, Feb. 14, in Prairie City, with a 45-42 victory over Huntington. Jamen Schafer led the Tigers with 17 points and five rebounds.
After two even-scoring quarters, the teams were tied at 25-all, and the crowd knew it was in for barn-burner.
After the half, Huntington took the upper hand, scoring off drives and baseline jumpers.
A late third-quarter Tiger surge kept the game close and Dayville/Monument recaptured the lead, scoring 8 unanswered points going to the fourth quarter.
Dayville/Monument outscored the Locomotives 11-9 in the fourth quarter to claim the victory.
Slowing the game down to favor their taller but slower players, Crane managed to outscore the Tigers in every quarter except the fourth, when the Tigers picked up the pace to outscore the Mustangs 12-5.
Despite a 16.7 percent shooting, the Tigers kept the game close with tight defense, forcing lower-percentage shots from the Mustangs.
The Tigers staged a fourth-quarter surge, but couldnt stave off their first loss in 13 games. That put them into a contest for third place in the tournament against Adrian.
Double-digit scoring from Dakota Emerson and Schafer and an impressive double-double from Jake Buce helped the Tigers cruise past Adrian and secure the third spot in district.
Both teams traded buckets for most of the game, as they worked through their set offenses.
At the half, Adrian led 18-13, thanks to good defensive efforts and a slower paced game.
The Tigers needed a spark as Colten Winter, the Tigers main energy source was benched for picking up his fourth foul.
Buce ignited a fast-paced game and the crowd with quick outlet passes and full-court drives, and helped the Tigers to their biggest lead of the game.
That lead grew to 11 at the final buzzer.
The win secured the No. 3 spot in the District Tournament for the Tigers, guaranteeing them a shot at state. They were scheduled to hit the road to play Rogue Valley Adventist for the first round of the OSAA playoffs Tuesday.