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USING YOUR WING SPAN: Pendleton's Michael Blanc tries to clog the passing options for La Grande backup point guard Aaron Nebeker. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).
USING YOUR WING SPAN: Pendleton's Michael Blanc tries to clog the passing options for La Grande backup point guard Aaron Nebeker. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

The La Grande Tigers were eager to play basketball Wednesday night, but they were probably too eager.

Too many turnovers on forced passes and some hot shooting from Pendleton contributed to La Grandes 72-48 season-opening, non-league boys basketball loss to the Bucks.

Pendleton played a really good game. They shot really well, La Grande coach Aaron Mills said. Pendletons a good ball club, but Ive never seen them play that way.

The Bucks had three 3-pointers from junior guard Marcus Buckley in the second quarter, which saw Pendleton open a 43-28 lead at halftime. Pendleton finished with eight 3-pointers and a lot of clean jumpers from long range.

The Bucks also clogged the passing lanes, switching defenders and getting in front of the Tigers attempts to push the ball up the court.

When the tempo is that high and youve got inexperienced players, youre going to make mistakes, Mills said. With experience, those will go down.

We got trapped and weve got a rotation to break the trap, but were not very good at that. Our press break is about half a pass away from being a layup every time.

Instead, Pendleton got most of the easy baskets off La Grande turnovers. Brian Nooy led Pendleton with 20 points, while Buckley added 17.

Even though La Grande trailed for most of the game, the teams offense did not fall apart, Mills said.

Our execution in our halfcourt set was really good, he said. These guys never gave up. Even down by 26 with two minutes left, they still worked their butts off.

Greg Schuft scored 14 points for La Grande, which next plays Tuesday at Pendleton.

Pendleton 18 25 21 8 72

La Grande 13 15 11 9 48

Pendleton Nooy 9 0-0 20, Sabin 4 0-0 9, Buckley 5 3-4 17, Sundin 2 3-3 8, Larson 2 0-2 4, Blanc, Beamer 1 1-2 3, Severin 1 1-2 3, Keeler 2 0-0 4, Gilliland, Nuess 1 2-2 4. Totals: 27 10-15 72.

La Grande Nebeker 2 0-0 4, Tucker, Schuft 5 4-5 14, MacDonald 1 0-0 2, Moore 1 0-0 3, Lester 3 0-0 9, Mellinger 3 0-0 6, McMahan 1 0-0 2, Bomberger 3 2-2 8. Totals: 19 6-7 48.

Three-pointers Pendleton, Nooy 2, Sabin, Buckley 4, Sundin; La Grande, Moore, Lester 3. Fouled out MacDonald. Total fouls Pendleton 11, La Grande 16. Technical fouls None.

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