PREP BASKETBALL: Rust remover
with two weeks in between games
For the last two years, the La Grande High School boys basketball team made it to the sub-tournament games but got eliminated. This year, La Grande, is set more than ever to push past the competition and try once more for a state title.
During the regular league season, La Grande reeled off a 16-game win streak, but a 51-47 loss in Ontario, Feb. 14 ended the streak. The loss moved the two teams into a tie for the regular season Greater Oregon League title. La Grande got its revenge the following week in the league’s postseason tournament. La Grande won the game, 57-45, and got a two-week break between games.
La Grande junior Kurt Boyd is thankful for the time off in between games.
“The two week break has been good, we’ve earned the rest,” Boyd said.
The time off has allowed the Tigers a chance to focus on some things they didn’t have the chance to work on during the regular league season.
“The guys are in a good state right now and pushing for a solid week of practice,” Carollo said. “We are just working on the little things now and making sure we are ready.
La Grande will shake off the rust when Yamhill-Carlton comes to La Grande for a first round sub-tournament game at 6 p.m. Saturday.
La Grande is ranked No.5 in the state with a Greater Oregon League record of 5-1 and with an overall record of 18-3. The Tigers are averaging 60.38 points per game, with an average margin of victory of 18.1 points. La Grande is holding opponents to average just 47.2 points per game.
Boyd has been focusing on improving his defensive play during the two-week break.
“Yamhill-Carlton has a good point guard,” Boyd said. “I’ll work to shut him down.”
Carollo knows this is a good opportunity for La Grande to play at the state level.
“There is some unfamiliarity with Yamhill-Carlton,” Carollo said. “We are going to have to match their intensity.”
Coached by Gary Mcculloch, the Yamhill-Carlton Tigers are currently ranked No. 17 in the OSAA state rankings. Yamhill-Carlton finished the regular season second in the Cowapa League with a 6-4 record and have an overall record of 14-10, but have won six out of its last seven games. The Tigers are averaging 58.2 points per game, while allowing 54.7.
However, the record of the Yamhill-Carlton doesn’t appear to worry La Grande.
“We’re pretty confident, because (Yamhill-Carlton) beat Central by one point and we beat Central by about six,” La Grande’s Troy Williams said. “I think we have a pretty good chance of winning Saturday.”