The Prairie City Panther boys had two solid wins last week, securing the No. 2 spot in the 1A High Desert League.
The Panthers have a bye on Thursday as the High Desert League Tournament gets underway Thursday through Saturday at the Grant Union Junior-Senior High School in John Day.
On Day One, the Monument/Dayville boys will face Harper at 8:45 p.m. Thursday, and Prairie City will compete with the winner of that game at 2:45 p.m. Friday.
The winner of the Friday afternoon game will advance to the championship game set for 4 p.m. Saturday; the winner will be the No. 1 seed to state and the loser will be No. 2.
The loser of the Friday afternoon game will play 11 a.m. Saturday, playing for third seed to state.
The top seed in the league is Jordan Valley, with Prairie City second, Monument/Dayville third, Crane fourth, Adrian fifth and Harper sixth.
The Panthers had a 78-24 home victory Friday over the Harper Hornets for Prairie City’s senior recognition night.
Instead of a tipoff, Harper was at the free-throw line, as Prairie City received a technical foul for entering the playing area illegally.
Harper missed those shots, but had the inbound throw to start the action.
The Panthers blazed the nets from the start, outshooting the Hornets 28-11 in the first quarter.
Prairie City’s Dorran Wilson stole the ball twice, scoring on fast breaks, adding nine points in the quarter. Levi Burke had 10 points, Wyatt Williams contributed a three-pointer and Brogan McKrola and Devin Packard added two points each.
At the half, Prairie City led by 33, holding Harper to three points in the second.
The third quarter was a similar scenario, and in the fourth, Prairie City’s younger players relieved the starters.
Harper outshot Prairie City 8-3 in the final quarter, but the Panthers’ foothold on the game was assured.
“I’m proud of the team and happy for the seniors,” said Prairie City head coach Jonathan Gill.
The Panther seniors were pleased with the win.
“I had a lot of fun playing with all the guys tonight, and I’m really looking forward to how we’ll play at districts,” said Wyatt Williams.
“I’m really proud of the boys,” said Devin Packard. “We played hard, and we can go far.”
“We came out very excited for this game because it was senior night,” said Brogan McKrola. “We’re really looking forward to next week. We think we have a good chance to place at districts.”
The Panther boys followed up on Saturday with a 69-30 win over the Huntington Locomotives.
Gill said it was important to have competition before entering district play.
“The young kids really played well this game,” Gill said. “They were the key to victory.”
Looking ahead to the district tournament, Gill said they are happy, but not satisfied with their No. 2 position.
“We are still hungry to be first place in districts,” he said. “We feel that the regular season prepares you for playoffs, and we look to seize the moment in the district tournament.”
Prairie City vs. Harper
Levi Burke: 22 points
Dorran Wilson: 22
Wyatt Williams: 9
Lucas McKinley: 9
Brogan McKrola: 6
Devin Packard: 6
Danner Davis: 2
Syd Holman: 2
Prairie City vs. Huntington
Levi Burke: 24 points (one three-pointer)
Dorran Wilson: 14
Wyatt Williams: 9 (one three-pointer)
Brogan McKrola: 7 (one three-pointer)
Devin Packard: 6
Jonathan Lawrence: 3 (three-pointer)
Danner Davis: 3
Lucas McKinley: 3 (three-pointer)