The Grant Union Prospectors boys basketball team struggled to find their footing early Friday against Stanfield, but a strong second-quarter got their mojo working and propelled the team to a 70-54 win on senior night.
Before Friday’s game, Grant Union head coach RC Huerta said the team battled illness, which left the squad with just 11 players at practice all week ahead of Friday’s game. To be sure, every player on the roster suited up for the game.
“Now, I am the only one who is sick,” Huerta said.
Despite battling illness, the boys squad had a spring in their step, having clinched their division in a win against rival Pilot Rock the previous week.
After the senior night ceremony, the Tigers wasted no time putting points on the board. Junior Uriel Carrillo put up 8 of his game-high 28 points in the first period, draining a pair of 3-pointers and knocking down a field goal.
Grant Union answered back, but at the end of the first period, the Tigers edged out the Prospectors, 20-18.
Grant Union’s leading scorer, senior Tristan Morris, who was scoreless in the first period, came out with a vengeance and nailed seven field goals, a jumper from the 3-point line and three of five at the free throw line in his final home game at Grant Union.
His younger brother Mason Morris, a sophomore, and senior Mason Gerry piled on for a combined 27 points.
Junior Jordan Hall put up 12 points in Friday’s game on a pair of 3-pointers, two field goals and 100% free throw shooting.
Junior Devon Stokes notched 7 points on a pair of field goals and 3-point jumper in the fourth quarter.
“This is the momentum we need to carry into districts,” Gerry said.
Reflecting on his final home game at Grant Union, Tristan Morris said first-year head coach RC Huerta made the team what it is with his positive, team-driven style of coaching.
“Coach Huerta made us a team, and we started coming together,” he said.
Huerta said his first senior night as a coach was pretty special and that he is so proud of his team.
“We made the right adjustments, and we executed when we needed to,” Huerta said.
The Prospectors finished out the regular season 15-6 overall, 10-12 league, at the top of the 2A-6 Blue Mountain Conference.
The Prospectors head to the Blue Mountain Conference Tournament at the Pendleton Convention Center Feb 21-22.
Grant Union has a bye the first round and will play the winner of Friday’s game between Heppner (8-4 league, 13-9 overall) and Pilot Rock (8-4, 19-4) in the championship game at 7:45 p.m. Saturday. The game will determine seeding heading into the state tournament Feb. 29 with at least the top two teams from the league advancing.