The Grant Union Prospector girls’ season came to a heartbreaking end Friday morning with a consolation loss to the No. 9-seed Central Linn Cobras, 53-30, at the OSAA 2A Girls Basketball State Championship in Pendleton.
Grant Union, seeded fifth, lost the quarterfinal round 54-36 on Thursday to the Coquille Red Devils, seeded fourth, at the Pendleton Convention Center.
“Both were very strong teams,” Grant Union head coach Kristi Moore said of their competition.
Central Linn also had height, and even though Grant Union has great jumpers, the Prospectors had difficulty rebounding and also struggled with shooting.
Moore said her team “played solid defense” in both games.
“It’s a great accomplishment to make it to the state tournament,” Moore said.
Out of 47 teams in the state “only eight get to play in the tournament, so it’s a great opportunity,” she added.
Five Prospector seniors close their high school careers in the sport: Hailie Wright, Kaylee Wright, Madi McKrola, Alcie Moore and Marissa Smith.
Smith said making it to the tournament made her senior year a memorable one.
“Our ultimate goal was to make it to the state tournament again, and we did,” she said. “Although it didn’t end the way we wanted it to, I’d like to thank my teammates, coaches and the community for all their support.”
She said the team had great chemistry and got along well.
“Everybody worked hard, and we came in and gave 100 percent,” Smith said.
McKrola was named the Player of the Game in both matches.
“Madi is determined, and she plays great defense and those things really rewarded her,” Moore said. “She definitely was our Player of the Game. She’s our ‘go-to’ a lot, and she deserved that honor.”
The Prospectors were league champions and placed second at the Blue Mountain Conference tournament to Heppner.
Heppner, seeded sixth at the state championship, won the title.
In Friday’s consolation game, held at Pendleton High School, Grant Union and Central Linn had an equal share of good and poor shooting in the first quarter with the Cobras gaining a slim 15-13 lead.
Twin sisters Hailie and Kaylee Wright each sank a 3-pointer, with Hailie also hitting a jump shot. Prospector Tyler Blood had a block and scored on a layup, and McKrola scored in the paint and shot 1-of-2 at the free-throw line.
Cobra Colleen McLaughlin scored 11 of her 17 points, including three 3-pointers, in the first eight minutes.
Grant Union was down 26-15 midway through the second, but started to climb out of the hole when McKrola scored off an assist from Kaytlyn Wells. Then Hailie Wright scored off Smith’s steal.
The Prospectors came within 2 points of the Cobras, holding Central Linn at 26, until the last 23 seconds. That’s when Cobra Sarah Conner scored on a layup, and Gracie Robb stole the ball with Jessica Neal sinking a 3-pointer, giving Central Linn a 31-24 lead going into halftime.
Central Linn held Grant Union to 4 points in the third, while scoring 13, to move ahead 44-28.
The Cobras also outscored the Prospectors 9-2 in the fourth for the 23-point win.
McLaughlin was Player of the Game for Central Linn.
McKrola and Hailie Wright led Grant Union in scoring with 9 each, and McKrola had five rebounds and Hailie had four rebounds. Kaylee Wright scored 8 points, Tyler Blood and Kaytlyn Wells each scored 2, and Wells had five rebounds.
McLaughlin led the teams in scoring with 17 points, followed by Sarah Conner with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Grant Union’s shooting percentage from the field fell from 40 percent in the first half to 8.3 percent in the second, while Central Linn shot 42.3 percent from the field in the first half and 34.8 percent in the second half.
The Cobras, led by head coach Marcus Campbell, hit 6-of-12 3-pointers and had 41 rebounds, and the Prospectors had 3-of-16 3-pointers and had 26 rebounds.
On free throws, Central Linn shot 9-of-16, while Grant Union hit 3-of-12.
In the quarterfinal match Thursday, Grant Union kept the first half close against the Coquille Red Devils but fell 54-36.
Prospector Hailie Wright lit up Grant Union’s side of the scoreboard first, with a layup scored off her steal. She had three steals in the first quarter, and McKrola had one steal. The pair combined for 11 points to Coquille’s 14.
The teams each scored 11 points in the second.
Prospector Abby Lusco came in to score 4 points early in the quarter, and McKrola added 2. Kaylee Wright stole the ball and scored on a fast break. Near the buzzer, Hailie Wright landed a 3-pointer, and Coquille led 25-22 going into halftime.
It seemed the Red Devils couldn’t miss a shot in the third, scoring 17 points while holding Grant Union to 5.
Hailie and Kaylee Wright both went 2-of-2 at the free-throw line, and McKrola added 1-of-2.
Red Devil Morgan Baird scored 8 of her 22 points in the fourth, including 6-of-6 at the free-throw line in the final two minutes.
McKrola had 14 points, nine rebounds, one assist and one steal in the game.
Baird, who had 22 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals, was Player of the Game for Coquille.
Moore, who has previous coaching experience in Phoenix, Arizona, took the reins as Grant Union head coach this year.
She said every day was a “great experience” coaching the team.
“It was fun,” she said. “They have a great perspective on life, and that just makes the season better.”
She said the team is a “great group of kids on and off the basketball court.”
The seniors, she said, are “hard working, athletic and great teammates.”
“We’ll definitely miss them next year, but we look forward to our posts all returning — Kaytlyn Wells, Tyler Blood and Abby Lusco — which is exciting for the program.”
Grant Union vs. Central Linn
Hailie Wright: 9 points (one 3-pointer), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Madi McKrola: 9 points (one 3-pointer, 2-4 free throws), 5 rebounds, 1 steal
Kaylee Wright: 8 points (one 3-pointer, 1-4 free throws), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Kaytlyn Wells: 2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Tyler Blood: 2 points, 2 blocks
Marissa Smith: 3 rebounds, 1 steal
Baylee Combs: 1 rebound
Alcie Moore: 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block
Grant Union vs. Coquille
Madi McKrola: 14 points (4-6 free throws), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Hailie Wright: 9 points (one 3-pointer, 2-2 free throws), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals
Tyler Blood: 4 points (2-2 free throws), 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal
Kaylee Wright: 3 points (2-2 free throws), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 1 steal
Baylee Combs: 3 points (one 3-pointer), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Kaytlyn Wells: 4 rebounds, 1 assist
Marissa Smith: 2 rebounds
Abby Lusco: 4 points, 1 rebound
Alcie Moore: 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Halle Layton: 4 points (2-4 free throws), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Carlee GeDeros: 3 rebounds, 2 assists
Abbey Dieu: 10 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals
Drew Wilson: 9 points (3-5 free throws), 2 rebounds, 2 steals
Morgan Baird: 22 points (8-8 free throws), 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals
Raeleeann Jackson: 2 points, 1 rebound
Bailey Higgins: 1 rebound
Maya Salazar: 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 block, 1 steal
Saige Galino: 2 points
Haley Van Pelt: 2 rebounds
Coquille shot 42 percent from the field (20-47), and they hit 13-20 free throws at 65 percent. The Red Devils had 11 offensive and 32 defensive rebounds.