For the second consecutive year, the Grant Union Prospector girls are Wapiti League basketball champions.
Grant Union beat the Union Bobcats on Friday and the Imbler Panthers on Saturday to seal the deal.
With just one more league game left, the Lady Pros are 7-0 and ranked No. 4 in state, followed by 4-2 Enterprise, ranked No. 10. Other teams in the league are Union, 3-4, No. 27; Elgin, 2-4, No. 24; and Imbler, 0-6, No. 34.
Grant Union has one more league game left against Enterprise at 4 p.m. Saturday, which Grant Union head coach Casey Hallgarth expects will be a competitive game.
“We need to continue to not back down and get after it on defense,” he said.
Although he expects Enterprise will be a top contender at the district tournament, Hallgarth said some of the other teams are also playing well.
“Anything can happen,” he said.
The Grant Union Prospector girls brought an energetic defense that led to many scoring opportunities in their 59-32 win over the Bobcats Friday night.
“We’re not being complacent and not taking anything for granted,” Hallgarth said. “They were ready to go off the bat.”
Prospector Kaylee Wright wasted no time getting 2 points on the board at the start. She led the Prospector scoring with 21, followed by Mariah Wright with 13 and Mariah Moulton with 9.
Prospector Whitney McClellan had a steal and scored 2, and Wright intercepted a Union pass and scored another 2.
Grant Union held Union to 2 points in the first quarter and led 34-15 going into halftime.
Union’s defense livened up in the third, but Grant Union was still able to power through.
Prospectors Madi McKrola, Kaylee Wright and Mariah Moulton (with a 3-point shot) combined for 9 points before Union found the basket.
Union’s Brianna Kohr scored a 3-pointer, followed by another 2 from Moulton and 2 from Prospector Trinity Hutchison.
With just a handful of seconds left, Bobcat Autumn Daggett sank a 2-point shot. Grant Union and Union had even scoring, 12-12, in the final quarter.
“We pressured their guards the whole night,” Hallgarth said. “Our tenacity on defense probably contributed to about 70 percent of our points. We missed a lot of lay-ins, but we also shot a lot.”
He said several girls contributed to the game.
“Our bench is starting to come alive,” he said. “Those girls are starting to match the tenacity and intensity of our starters.”
Moulton said she was excited for another league win.
“We started out the game running the ball and had great defense,” she said. “We prepared for it all week and came out ready.”
Grant Union topped Imbler 67-19 on Saturday, never allowing the Panthers the lead.
“I thought our team performed at a high level even though the score is misleading,” Hallgarth said. “We talk about coming out ready to go — that is the theme this week. Our defense has carried us all year, and we need to hit our stride from here on out, which I believe we are.”
Grant Union hosted the 1A Crane Mustangs on Tuesday, past press time. The Prospectors will host the 1A Jordan Valley Mustangs at 5:30 p.m. Thursday for senior night.
Jordan Valley is the High Desert League champion with a 10-0 record, ranked No. 17, followed by Crane, which is 8-1 and ranked No. 13. Hallgarth said these games will help his team be mentally prepared for the battles ahead.
“We haven’t reached our goals, yet,” he said.
The Wapiti District Tournament will be Friday-Saturday, Feb. 16-17, at La Grande High School, the times to be determined.
Grant Union vs. Union
Kaylee Wright: 21 (one 3-pointer, 2-3 free throws)
Mariah Wright: 13 (one 3-pointer)
Mariah Moulton: 9 (two 3-pointers, 1-2 free throws)
Madi McKrola: 8 (2-5 free throws)
Hailie Wright: 4 (one 3-pointer, 1-2 free throws)
Trinity Hutchison: 2
Whitney McClellan: 2
Grant Union vs. Imbler
Kaylee Wright: 19
Madi McKrola: 14
Mariah Wright: 11
Kori Jo Girvin: 6
Trinity Hutchison: 6
Hailie Wright: 6
Makenna Culley: 3
Whitney McClellan: 2