The No. 5 Grant Union Prospector girls will host the No. 12 Gervais Cougars for a round one state basketball playoff at 2 p.m. Saturday in John Day, and the winner will continue on to the Feb. 28-March 2 OSAA State Basketball Championship Tournament in Pendleton.
Grant Union, league champions of the Blue Mountain Conference (11-2), finished second at the BMC Tournament on Saturday with a 62-57 loss to the Heppner Mustangs.
The Prospectors had a good start with a 16-14 lead in the first quarter. However, Heppner moved ahead 33-23 going into halftime and outscored Grant Union 17-9 in the third.
Grant Union started a comeback in the fourth, scoring 25 points to Heppner’s 12, but was unable to catch up.
“Heppner is a great team, and they played hard throughout the game,” said Grant Union head coach Kristi Moore.
“We dug ourselves a hole in the third quarter,” she said. “The girls stepped it up in the fourth quarter, but we couldn’t fully recover from the deficit. I am proud of them for fighting to the very last second.”
Prospector Madi McKrola led her team in scoring with 19 points, followed by Hailie Wright with 14. For Heppner, Sydney Wilson scored a game-high 31 points.
Receiving BMC All-League recognition are seniors Hailie Wright and Kaylee Wright, first team, and senior Madi McKrola, second team.
Grant Union’s high ranking earned the team a home playoff game.
“The team is motivated and positive going into this week,” Moore said. “We are going to work hard and focus on the things that we do best.”
Grant Union has a 9-4 league record, 17-5 overall. They’ve scored 1,276 points overall and have allowed 943.
Gervais has a 10-4 league record, 18-8 overall. They’ve scored 1,199 points overall and have allowed 917.
Although Moore said she doesn’t know much about the team, she knows they’re from a strong league, the Tri-River Conference, which includes Kennedy and Culver.
“We hope the community will come support these girls as they have worked hard, not only this year, but for the past four years,” she said.
Grant Union stats
Hailie Wright: 14 points (one 3-pointer, 1-3 free throws), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Kaytlyn Wells: 10, 10 rebounds,
Kaylee Wright: 4 (2-2 free throws), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 3 steals
Madi McKrola: 19 (3-6 free throws), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 5 steals
Marissa Smith: 5 (one 3-pointer), 4 rebounds, 1 steal
Baylee Combs: 6 (2-2 free throws), 1 rebound, 1 steal
Abby Lusco: 1 (1-2 free throws), 1 steal
Alcie Moore: 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
Tyler Blood: 1 block