Lady Tigers representing Eastern Ore.
When the La Grande girls basketball team tips off against Banks tonight in the quarterfinals of the 4A state tournament at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, the Lady Tigers will be representing more than just the Grande Ronde Valley.
They’ll be representing Eastern Oregon as a whole.
Other than the Hermiston girls basketball team, no other team east of the Cascade Mountain Range is still playing on the hardwood.
The Lady Tigers will have traveled 344 miles to play Banks, about 62 miles farther than Brookings had to travel for its quarterfinal showdown with Mazama.
Compare that with the 26 miles Junction City went, or the 33 miles Cascade is forced to make, and the trek for LHS across the state is a lengthy one.
Banks will have gone a few steps more than 100 miles when it suits up tonight.
But all that is thrown out the window when you’re talking about the chance to play for a state title.
This is the first time since 2003 that a Lady Tigers squad is making an appearance in Gill, and it’s the first time since 2010 that a La Grande team is there — period.
The 2009-10 LHS boys basketball team made it to the state title game before losing to Central.
This Lady Tigers team has been in plenty of big games the past few seasons, so the atmosphere in Corvallis shouldn’t play a factor.
But should they make a run toward a title, they should know that they have most of Eastern Oregon behind them.
For more thoughts on the state tournament throughout the week, see lagrandeobserver.com