UNITY - Hard luck has dogged the Monument/ Dayville boys basketball team all season, but in Monday's playoff game against Harper for the No. 4 seed to the upcoming District 4-1A tournament, things finally went the right way for the Tigers.
Both teams had finished the TriCo League regular season with 11-7 records and had split two head-to-head matchups, setting the stage for Monday's showdown, with a trip to Baker City on the line.
The rubber game left no doubt as to which was the better of the two teams as the Tigers dominated the action from the opening tip and dumped the Hornets in convincing fashion 58-36.
"I've said many times it was defense that will win you games and that's what gave us the victory tonight," Tigers' coach Skip Inscore said.
Seniors Carl Peterson and Brad Woosley were a pair of dominating figures under the boards at both ends of the court and the duo combined for all the Tigers' points in the first quarter and a 12-4 lead.
"I'm excited to go to the district, it's the greatest thing," Peterson said.
Harper cut the lead to three points in the second period on three-point baskets by Tyler Clark and Trini Rodriguez, but Mani Martin got the Tigers back on track with a three-point bucket and Monument/Dayville held a 26-18 halftime advantage.
"I'm excited to go back to district," Martin said. "I wanted to do it for coach in his last year. I wanted to go back, too, in my last year as a senior."
In the third quarter, Monument/Dayville scored an additional 14 thanks to three baskets from Woosley and a three-pointer from Cody Riggs, up the lead to 40-29 heading into the final eight minutes of the contest.
"I thought we played well tonight," Riggs said. "We lost some close games this season but we never gave up. It's great to be going back to the district."
In the fourth quarter, Monument/Dayville's defense clamped down holding Harper to just seven points while putting 18 on the board to seal the victory.
"I'm just so proud of these kids and I can't say enough about them," Inscore said. "I'm particularly happy for the seniors being able to go to the district tournament in their last year."
Peterson and Woosley tied for game-high scoring honors with 16 points apiece and Martin scored nine.
The Tigers have a difficult task facing them in the opening round of the tournament against Imbler, the No. 1 seed from the Old Oregon League, and currently the No. 1-ranked Class 1A team in the state.
Tip-off against the Panthers is set for 7 p.m. today at Baker High School.