La Grande boys win on free throw
By Raenelle Kwock
Observer Staff Writer
The last shot decided the game between the Rainier boys basketball team and La Grande Saturday.
Tanner Mellingers free throw sailed to the bottom of the net with one second left, preserving La Grandes 50-47 win in the OSAA-US Bank Boys Basketball Playoffs.
Rainier is a good ball club, La Grande coach Aaron Mills said. They shot the ball real well.
La Grande (15-11) had trouble defending the three pointer throughout the game. Logan Andrews had two, while Justin Parrish and Broc Coffman made one each. Andrews and Coffman both came off the bench to hit those shots.
We had trouble matching up on that, Mills said. We didnt know which guy to defend.
Rainiers last three-pointer came with less than five seconds in the game. La Grande was barely holding on with the score now 49-47.
After a timeout, La Grandes Steve McMahan stepped to the line for two free throws. He missed both with three seconds on the clock. Mellinger swiped the miss and got fouled.
Mellinger missed the first shot, but his second sealed the game.
On the inbounds play, Rainier attempted a long baseball pass to get the ball upcourt, but the ball sailed out of bounds.
La Grande called timeout with one second left. Mellinger inbounded the ball to Kyle Bomberger. Bomberger threw the ball up so high that it hit the gym light.
Mellinger led La Grande with 12 points. Kevin Nagunst had 12 for Rainier.
Mills said his team got rid of the jitters in Saturdays game in preparation for the state 3A boys state championship in Corvallis this week. The Tigers play No. 1 Philomath at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Oregon State University.
Were going to give them everything weve got, Mills said.
Mills said his team is excited to have the chance at states.
La Grandes win spoiled the return of former coach Dan Wheatley. Wheatley coached here from 1974-76. Wheatley has moved around since his time at La Grande. He has coached at four different schools before arriving at Rainier two seasons ago.
Rainier boys 16 9 10 12 47
La Grande 15 11 14 10 50
Rainier L. Andrews 3 0-0 8, Schiedler, Parrish 1 0-0 3, Nagunst 5 2-2 12, Nelson 1 0-0 2, B. Coffman 1 0-0 3, J. Coffman 4 0-0 11, Z. Andrews 4 0-0 8. Totals: 19 2-2 47.
La Grande Nebeker, Schuft 2 3-5 8, MacDonald, Pennington 3 2-2 9, Lester 3 0-2 9, Mellinger 4 4-5 12, McMahan 1 1-5 3, Bomberger 2 0-0 4, Larson 1 1-2 3. Totals: 17 11-21 50.
Three-pointers Rainier, L. Andrews 2, Parrish, B. Coffman; La Grande, Schuft, Pennington, Lester 3. Fouled out None. Total fouls Rainier 16, La Grande 9. Technical fouls None.