Imbler junior Joe Griffin drives into the lane during a 72-48 win against Monument/Dayville Wednesday. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
IMBLER — The sequel is not often as good as the original. That was the case in Imbler Wednesday night.
The Imbler boys basketball team cruised to a 72-48 win over Monument/Dayville. In the first meeting between the two teams at the La Grande Optimist Christmas Classic, the Panthers escaped with a 46-44 win.
Imbler sophomore Trace Vancleave erased the doubt of which team would come away with the win. Vancleave scored the first seven points of the game, and then nine of the first 11 points. Monument/Dayville finally got on the board with 4:26 left in the first quarter on a field goal by Jamen Schafer.
Two-time Old Oregon League player of the Year Kyle Johnson didn’t start the game after injuring his knee in the league championship game Saturday night. He did enter the game with 4:25 left in the first quarter. He finished the game with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Imbler closed out the first quarter with a 22-6 lead, and were never threatened in the game.
Vancleave finished the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Panthers junior Joe Griffin had a team-high 18 points, while Eli Bowers finished with 17 points.Griffin also had seven steals in the game.
The Tigers were led by Colten Winters with 10 points.
Imbler moves on to the second round of play-in games, and will travel to Elkton for a 5 p.m. tipoff Saturday. Elkton, the No. 1 seed out of the Skyline League, finished the season 15-8 overall and went 9-3 in league play.
IONE — The second meeting for the Joseph boys basketball team with Ione went a lot like the first. However, this time it brought an end to the Eagles’ season.
Joseph lost in the opening state play-in game 84-46 Wednesday. The Eagles lost in the first meeting 84-37 Jan. 4.
Led by Jailin Conboy led the Cardinals offense that built a 25-15 first quarter lead. Conboy led Ione with a game-high 25 points.
The fact that the Eagles had another shot at Ione was a victory in itself. Joseph went 1-9 during the Old Oregon League schedule. A second win in a must-win game in the postseason tournament against Cove followed by a win against Pine Eagle in the third-place game sent a 7-18 record into the state play-in round.
Cayden DeLury led the Eagles with 13 points, while Sam Beckman added 12 points. Ben Smallen added seven points.
Luke Jobes scored 17 points for Ione, while T.J. Patton added 12 points.
DUFUR — The Cove girls basketball team season came to an end against Dufur during a 51-33 loss in the opening round of the state play-in games Wednesday.
As the first state playoff game for Cove in several years, head coach Brendon May says the girls played their hearts out in one of their best games of the season.
“I can’t say enough about the effort they put on the court,” May said.
Kayla Johnson, one of the starters for Cove, was unable to play due to a family emergency. Johnson averaged 14 points per game in the Old Oregon League postseason tournnament and her absence hurt the team’s offensive ability.
The Leopards closed to within six points early in the fourth, but after a traveling call on Mikayla Murchison, Cove was unable to rebuild its momentum and fell behind again.
May thought the call on her was questionable at the very least least.
“The Dufur player ran into her,” he said.
In spite of the frustrating call, Murchison finished the night with a game-high 15 points for her team and Molly Delcurto finished with six.
For Dufur, Teneille McDonald and Taylor Darden ended the night with 12 points apiece.
Regardless of the loss May was proud of what his team accomplished.
“When you see that much heart and effort, you can’t help but walk away smiling,” May said.