Defense key in Grant Union boys’ 6-point win over Weston-McEwen

The Grant Union Prospector boys, missing a starter due to injury, stepped up Saturday for a 62-57 win over conference opponents the Weston-McEwen TigerScots in Athena.

Jacob Vaughan led the Prospectors with 27 points, followed by Tanner Elliott with 15 and Devon Stokes with 9.

Tristan Morris, who often leads in scoring, injured his foot in practice last week and could be out for four weeks, said head coach Kelsy Wright.

Wright said his team understands what they’re up against in the Blue Mountain Conference, and they’re ready to fill in that gap to keep the team competitive.

Currently, Grant Union is second in the league (6-8 overall, 4-1 league) to the Heppner Mustangs (11-6, 5-0). The Union Bobcats (10-5, 3-2) are third in the standings.

In Athena, the Prospectors held the lead throughout the contest.

“They (the TigerScots) were in a 1-2-2 zone, so we came up with some good plays,” Wright said.

“Jacob Vaughan and Devon Stokes were just great on the 3-point shot,” he said. “He (Devon) got them out of the 1-2-2 zone then man to man. Our defense really played key in winning that game.”

He added, “Tanner Elliott was a monster in getting second-chance points for us and making it to the free-throw line quite a bit.”

Wright said they’re prepared to face the Stanfield Tigers (5-11, 2-3, No. 4 in league) and Union this week.

They’ve watched Stanfield in two games, and they beat Union 59-47 on Jan. 5 in John Day.

“The boys understand what the deal is,” he said. “These are going to be our biggest games to stay in league competition.”

Grant Union hosts Stanfield on Friday at 6 p.m.

The Prospectors are on the road to Union Saturday, facing the Bobcats at 4 p.m.

Prospector girls surge ahead in second half run over TigerScots

The Grant Union Prospector girls, ranked No. 4 among OSAA’s 2A teams, are on a six-game win streak.

Grant Union’s defensive intensity propelled them to a 57-33 victory over the Weston-McEwen TigerScots in Athena in conference action.

The Prospectors were ahead 26-19 at the half, then outscored the TigerScots 18-10 in the third for a 44-29 lead. Grant Union widened the gap for the 24-point win, holding Weston-McEwen to 4 points in the fourth.

Madi McKrola led the Prospectors for the night with 28 points.

“Our goal was to focus on rebounding and creating the offensive fast break,” said head coach Kristi Moore. “After half time, we were able to make a few adjustments, which led to scoring opportunities.”

The win gives Grant Union an 11-3 record. They are leading at 5-0 in the Blue Mountain Conference, followed by the Enterprise Outlaws (4-2), and Heppner and Union (both 3-2). Stanfield is 2-3.

The Grant Union girls host Stanfield at 7:30 p.m. Friday, then travel to Union Saturday where they face the Bobcats at 5:30 p.m.

The Prospector girls beat Union 60-52 on Jan. 5 in John Day.

Mountain Lion girls corral the Bulls in Unity

The Long Creek/Ukiah Mountain Lions experienced the thrill of victory and agony of defeat as they defeated the Burnt River Bulls 26-23 on Friday in Unity and fell 69-17 Saturday to the Crane Mustangs.

Coach Amos Studtmann said their contest with the Bulls was intense and physical.

“Burnt River has come a long way since we first saw them,” he said.

Long Creek/Ukiah led 19-11 at the half. Then the Bulls left the Mountain Lions scoreless in the third.

Studtmann said they struggled offensively and defensively in the third. Burnt River outshot Long Creek/Ukiah 19-0.

“We allowed Burnt River to close the gap and gain the lead before coming back in the fourth quarter and making some smarter passes and getting a few rebounds,” he said.

He said all but one player on his bench had playing time — the one team member was in on their game against the Mustangs.

The coach said their goal in Crane was to pressure the Mustangs to play their starters as much as possible.

He said the girls felt it was a success because Crane kept their starters in the contest.

“We got back on defense, and for the most part, we were able to force them to run an offense in order to score and not just take all the fast breaks,” he said. “Lucchese Douglas and Brooke Harrison were a huge part of slowing down the fast break.”

The Mountain Lion girls will host Jordan Valley at 5 p.m., with the boys playing at 6:30 p.m., on Friday in Ukiah, and they host the Pilot Rock junior varsity team at 4:30 p.m., boys at 6 p.m., Saturday in Ukiah.

Long Creek/Ukiah boys put new strategies into play

The Long Creek/Ukiah Mountain Lion boys split wins on the road, taking a 41-21 victory in Unity over the Burnt River Bulls and falling 65-38 to the Crane Mustangs.

Coach Amos Studtmann said they put new strategies they’ve practiced to the test in Unity.

“It worked,” he said, adding they tried some different offensive plays.

“I put in all our subs, working them into our offense and getting them to make good decisions with the team,” he said. “They all did well.”

He said Jesus Olmos ran hard and kept in correct position on defense.

“Henry Grannis was good on rebounds, and Marsel Kozhogulov was aggressive trying to block shots and steal the ball,” he said.

Studtmann said making poor passes and giving up easy rebounds in Crane led to their loss.

“They didn’t play up to our usual abilities and had too many turnovers and few rebounds,” he said.

He noted that James Kreamier was almost 90 percent from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, landing 8-9 shots.

“I see him going to the line and chalk him up for 2 points,” the coach said.

He said, for their games in Ukiah, the teams will focus on making good passes and rebounding.

He noted the Ukiah gym is a challenge for visitors.

“You’re close to the audience and the roof is low, so it’s hard to keep good spacing,” he said.

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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