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La Grande Observer Paper 08/20/14

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By Pierre LaBossire

Observer Staff Writer

League play begins tonight for Greater Oregon and Wapiti boys and girls basketball teams, with critical games taking place right off the bat this weekend.

Greater Oregon League

The No. 1 (Ontario), No. 2 (La Grande) and No. 5 (Burns) girls' basketball teams in the state are all in the Greater Oregon League.

The La Grande girls are just 7-5, but the girls played an especially tough preseason, and all those losses have come against 4A or 4A-equivalent teams. La Grande is now out to show that a lot of preseason attention was warranted.

Ontario is 9-1, while Burns is 11-1. La Grande starts its league season at 7:30 p.m. today against a 2-7 Mac-Hi squad.

The La Grande boys got off to a terrible 0-6 start, but have been playing much better lately, as Kyle Bomberger is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds over the past month, and Seth Pennington is getting more healthy as he recovers from a broken foot.

The boys have gone 3-3 over their past six games for a 3-9 preseason record. They play Mac-Hi (5-4) at 6 p.m. today.

Wapiti League

Both the Imbler boys and girls have made a lot of preseason noise.

The Imbler boys (8-1, ranked No. 9 in the state) get an immediate test as defending league champion Joseph comes to town. Joseph played a tough preseason schedule and is 4-6. That game begins at about 6:30 or 7 p.m., depending on the length of girls' and JV games.

The Imbler boys are a tough team to defend, with three big weapons (Ethan Davis, 19.2 ppg; Tanner McIntosh, 13.6; and Colin Culbreth, 11.8).

The Imbler girls (9-1, ranked No. 4), are much like the Panther boys in that they also have a variety of weapons. They have three girls ¬óLeanne Foster, 12.5 ppg; Tiffany Rasmussen, 12.4; Amy Clerget, 9.5 ¬ó who can score.

Another interesting opening game for the Wapiti League today is between the Elgin and Enterprise girls. The Elgin girls have gone 7-1 despite having a very small and young team, and only one player, Amber Looslie, scoring in double figures. They have been winning with hustle and defense. The Elgin girls are giving up just 27.6 points a game.

Old Oregon League

The Cove boys have been a bit of a surprise so far this season, mainly because they beat the then-No. 2-ranked Jordan Valley boys on the road last week, to take a 2-0 record in OOL play.

Because of that win, the Cove boys vaulted into the 1A top 10 at the No. 10 spot. The Leopards knocked Jordan Valley all the way down to No. 5.

The Cove girls are ranked No. 1 (6-3, 2-0 in OOL). The No. 5-ranked Wallowa girls (7-3, 1-0 in OOL), winners of six out their last seven, beat a good Powder Valley team on the road last week without their starting post player Sara Bomberger.

The Cougars get another huge test this weekend. They host a very good Crane girls' squad (7-3, 2-0 in OOL) at about 5 p.m. today. Crane finished 11th in the latest 1A coaches' poll.

Then, in what might be the game of the week in the OOL, Wallowa goes on the road to play Cove Saturday. That game should begin at about 3:30 or 4 p.m.

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