The Grant Union Prospector girls had a strong start in Saturday’s league basketball contest, but after the first quarter the Heppner Mustangs held onto the lead for a 63-52 win in John Day.

It was a turnaround for the teams, since the Prospectors beat the Mustangs 65-53 Dec. 21 in Heppner.

The Prospectors, which had been on a nine-game winning streak, are still at the top of the league standings.

The Prospectors started on the right track Saturday with Prospector Kaylee Wright hitting a 3-pointer less than a minute into the game. She then scored 2 points off a steal.

Prospector Marissa Smith added 2 for a 7-0 lead.

Heppner caught up and moved ahead 14-12 with 1:30 to go in the first quarter. Then Prospector Alcie Moore tied the score, 14-14.

Mustang Sydney Wilson didn’t score in the first quarter, but racked up 23 of her game-high 26 points in the second and third quarters.

Grant Union was down by 22 points late in the third.

The Prospectors started closing the gap in the fourth, outscoring the Mustangs 18-10 in the quarter, but couldn’t overtake the visitors.

With less than a minute to go, Moore drew an intentional foul, and Madi McKrola fouled out.

Heppner sank 5-6 free throws in the final minute, while Hailie Wright hit 2-2 free throws and landed two 2-pointers.

“Heppner played a great game,” said Grant Union head coach Kristi Moore. “They shot the ball well.”

“Defensively, we let them shoot the ball,” she said. “Offensive-wise, we weren’t moving well and weren’t transitioning well, and that took us out of the game. We made a run at the end but couldn’t quite pull it off.”

Moore said they learned some strategy from the game, and they hadn’t played from behind in a while.

She said they’ll make some adjustments and refine their game, focusing on teamwork and execution.

“We’re moving forward — it’s still our goal to be league champions,” she said. “They are great basketball players with lots of talent.”

Kaylee Wright led the Prospectors with 19 points, followed by Hailie Wright and McKrola who each scored 12.

Grant Union defeated Pilot Rock 60-30 in conference play Friday.

The Prospectors host the Weston-McEwen TigerScots at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Prospector boys play at 4 p.m.

Grant Union vs. Heppner

Kaylee Wright: 19 points

Hailie Wright: 12

Madi McKrola: 12

Alcie Moore: 4

Marissa Smith: 4

Abby Lusco: 1

Heppner stats

Sydney Wilson: 26 points

Jacee Currin: 14

Madison Combe: 9

Madelyn Nichols: 7

Madison Ashbeck: 4

Jenna McCullough: 3

2A Blue Mountain Conference girls

Grant Union: 8-1 conference, 14-4 overall, ranked No. 5

Enterprise: 7-2, 15-4, No. 7

Heppner: 7-2, 15-6, No. 9

Union: 4-4, 10-8, No. 11

Stanfield: 3-5, 9-10, No. 29

Pilot Rock: 1-8, 7-12, No. 31

Weston-McEwen: 0-8, 5-14, No. 27

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at angel@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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