The Grant Union Prospector boys and Stanfield Tigers kept the score close in the first half of Friday’s conference contest in John Day before Stanfield pulled ahead for a 68-52 win.
Prospector head coach Kelsy Wright said, although they took the loss, it was still a good game.
“They made some adjustments and pulled ahead,” he said of the Tigers, noting that one of their players, who hadn’t been shooting as well in past games, started hitting the basket.
Prospector Jacob Vaughan had a game-high 16 points, and Mason Gerry had 13.
For Stanfield, Elias Esquivel had a team high of 15.
Prospector Devon Stokes landed a 3-point shot halfway through the first quarter, and two minutes later sank another 3-pointer.
Stanfield led 14-13 going into the second.
In the first minute, Vaughan landed a 3-pointer and, less than two minutes, later added another with Warner Robertson also hitting for 3 in the final minute.
Prospector Tanner Elliott was strong on rebounding for the night.
He grabbed the ball 8-10 feet out for a put-back at the halftime buzzer for 2 points, moving Grant Union to within 1 point of Stanfield, the Tigers with the 29-28 lead.
The Tigers outscored the Prospectors 19-12 in the third and 20-12 in the fourth with many of Stanfield’s points earned at the free-throw line.
Stanfield shot 19-27 from the free-throw line, including 14-20 in the second half. Grant Union was 11-19 in the game.
Grant Union took another conference loss on the road, 58-45, to the Union Bobcats on Saturday.
“It was a close game all the way until the end,” Wright said.
He said they had to start fouling in the fourth.
“They were making free throws, and we weren’t capitalizing on our offense — nothing was falling for us,” he said.
Wright said the team has been adapting to having starter Tristan Morris out with an ankle injury, but added they hope to have Morris back after this week.
“We’re just trying to come together,” Wright said. “We’re doing everything right. I’m proud of how hard they want to work for me.”
The coach said they’re focused on preparing for Heppner this week, and they are also getting ready for Pilot Rock.
Grant Union will face the Pilot Rock Rockets at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the road, and they host the Heppner Mustangs at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Heppner is currently leading the conference with a 7-0 record (13-6 overall), followed by Union at 5-2 (12-5) and Grant Union 4-3 (6-10). Pilot Rock is 1-6 (2-15).
“It should be another pretty intense game,” Wright said of the upcoming home game.
Grant Union stats
Jacob Vaughan: 16 points (two 3-pointers, 4-8 free throws)
Mason Gerry: 13 (5-7 free throws)
Jordan Hall: 8 (2-2 free throws)
Tanner Elliott: 6
Devon Stokes: 6
Warner Robertson: 3 (one 3-pointer)
Team free throws 11-19
Elias Esquivel: 15 points (one 3-pointer, 6-9 free throws)
Hugo Hernandez-Gomez: 10 (two 3-pointers)
Eduardo Nuñez: 10 (4-7 free throws)
Rene Sanchez: 9 (one 3-pointer)
Fernando Ramirez: 8 (two 3-pointers)
Mario Sanchez: 6 (6-8 free throws)
Christopher Coady: 4
Cody Griffin: 3 (one 3-pointer)
Uriel Carrillo: 3 (3-4 free throws)
Team free throws 19-27