Tyler Robinson of Powder Valley goes over Unionís Cody VanderZanden for two points Saturday. BRAD MOSHER - The Observer
UNION — The Powder Valley Badgers are quick this year.
And Union’s Bobcats found out just how quick Saturday when the visiting Badgers ran away to an easy 63-43 victory in the boys championship game of the annual Lions basketball tournament.
Powder Valley jumped out to an 18-12 first period lead over their 2A foes and by halftime it was 33-21.
In the third quarter, Powder Valley kept up the pressure by running up a 19-7 scoring advantage that put the Badgers ahead 52-28 at the beginning for the final period.
The Bobcats outscored the Badgers in just one period — the fourth — by a 15-11 margin.
According to Powder Valley coach Kyle Dixon, the Badgers got started by playing strong defense. “We started playing defense a little better and pressured the ball a bit more.
“We are a pretty quick team and if we pressure the ball, we do pretty good.”
The Badgers are focused moving the ball and taking quick advantage of any mistakes by the other team, Dixon added. Early in the game, that meant turning Union turnovers into points.
“We are a pretty small team. We have a couple of big guys in the middle, but as long as we can push it and run, I am comfortable with it.
Noe Benites provided some spark for the Badgers in the third quarter, hitting both of his three-pointers in an eight-point period. “He’s one of my solid players. He didn’t have a very good game Friday, but he came in and played fabulous tonight,” the Powder Valley coach said after the championship game.
Marcus Pratt led Powder Valley scorers with 14 points, while Benites added 13 and Quin Stephens put in 12. The Badgers finished the game with 10 players scoring. Tyler Robinson had eight points, while Logan Allen added four and both Brent Jones and Santiago Ochoa finished with three points. Chace Dixon, Fernando Jimenez and Jose Benites each had two points.
Brazen Wellington led Union scorers with 13 points, while Cody VanderZanden added 10 points. Ken Sipp hit two shots for six points, while Ty Coon and Chase Houck each added four points. J.D. Graves scored three points, while Aaron Clark, Cortin Nowak and Kaleb Poor each added one point.
Powder Valley put two players on the all-tournament team, Robinson and Pratt. VanderZanden of Union made the five-man squad, along with Brandon Batty of Cove and Zalin Arritola of Crane.
The Badgers will take their 2-0 record to the Condon Christmas Tournament where they’ll play Condon/Wheeler Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sherman County Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Condon/Wheeler (1-1) started the season with a 66-35 win over Portland Waldorf Friday in the Paul Humphreys Tip-Off Tournament before losing to Monument/Dayville Saturday by a 47-36 score.
Sherman County will also bring a 1-1 record into Condon after opening the season and their own invitational with a 71-51 loss to Culver. The Huskies came back with a 64-57 win over Southwest Christian Saturday.
For Union, the Bobcats will try to knock off the rival Leopards Friday at 7:30 in the first night of the Cove Booster tournament.
After winning the title, the Badgers were sharing third place in Sunday’s OSAA boys 1A basketball poll with Harper, Perrydale and New Hope Christian. City Christian and Columbia Christian-Hood River are tied for the top spot in the early season poll. Cove was ranked 27th Sunday, while Crane was in a five-way tie for 47th.
Leopards take consolation
UNION — Cove claimed the consolation title in the Union Lions basketball tournament Saturday with a 57-46 victory over Crane.
The game was tight until the fourth quarter, when the Leopards went on a 15-5 run that put the game away.
Cove led Crane by two points (39-37) going into the final period, but the only Mustang to score was senior Nick Nyman. Nyman got five of his 18 points in the last eight minutes of the game.
But new coach TedRoy McBride was able to get 15 points from six players to improve the Leopards’ record to 1-1.
Both the teams were tied at the end of the first quarter (11-11) and halftime (24-24), before the Leopards took the slight lead at the end of the third period.
Zalin Arritola and Tyler Opie both scored eight points for the Mustangs, while Corbin Hammond finished with six points. Nick Witzel scored two Saturday.
The loss dropped the Mustangs to 0-2 for the season.
Carl Gray led the Leopards in scoring Saturday with 14 points, while Brandon Batty had 12 and Jayden Moore put in 10 points. Colton DeeMeerleer and Derek Murchison both added eight points each, while Isiah Mowery scored two.
The 27th-ranked Leopards will host rival Union Friday at 7:30 p.m. on the opening night of the two-day Cove Boosters Tournament.
Badgers roll over Leopards
UNION — Powder Valley pulled away from Cove in the second quarter on its way to a 62-46 win in the boys opener of the Union Lions basketball tournament Friday.
Cove’s Brandon Batty led all scorers with 22 points, while Tyler Robinson was the “top gun” for the Badgers with 20.
Powder Valley (1-0) took an early 18-13 in the first quarter, then jumped on the Leopards for a 14-7 edge in the second quarter to take a 32-20 lead at halftime.
The Badgers got a pair of threes from Marcus Pratt and Chace Dixon in the second period to help Powder Valley build the halftime lead. Dixon finished the game with three three-pointers for a total of nine points for the Badgers.
In the second half, the Leopards stayed close but were unable to really close ground on the Badgers. Powder Valley held a 45-31 lead at the end of the third quarter after outscoring Cove 13-11.
Robinson scored eight of his 20 points in both the first and third periods. But it was Quin Stephens hitting six of his 13-point total in the final period that enabled Powder Valley to outscore Cove 17-15 in the final period.
At the free throw line, Powder Valley hit nine of its 12 tries, while Cove struggled hitting only nine of 19 attempts. Batty was the Leopards’ hot shot at the line, scoring on six of his nine tries.
Cove’s Jayden Moore finished with 10 points. Colton DeeMeerleer had six points, while Derek Murchison scored five and Carl Gray put in three points.
The Badgers also had two players in double digits, led by Robinson and Stephens. Noe Benites, Marcus Pratt and Logan Allen each scored five points. Fernando Jimenez added three, and Jason Benites put in two.
Union edges Crane
UNION — The Bobcats held off a late rally by the Crane Mustangs to win their season opener Friday, 61-57.
In the final game of the first night of the Union Lions tournament, Union watched a narrow lead disappear with 1:29 left in the game when the Mustangs (0-1) took a 54-53 edge.
But the 2A Bobcats came back to score eight of the next 11 points to pull out the win over the 1A team from the High Desert League.
Crane’s Zalin Arritola led all scorers with 20 points, in spite of spending part of the third and fourth quarters on the bench with foul trouble. Arritola had 20 points, including 12 of Crane’s 18 points in the final quarter before he fouled out. Tyler Opie added 16 for the Mustangs.
Cody VanderZanden led the Union scorers with 14 points, while Ty Coon had 12 and Ken Sipp finished with 11 points. J.D. Graves added eight points, while Cortin Nowak and Kaleb Poor both had five points. Chris Ross scored four and Brazen Wellington added two points.The game was close from the start, with Union taking a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Union then held on for a 29-26 halftime advantage.
By the end of the third quarter, Union had a 46-39 edge, only to see the visiting Mustangs come back to take the lead late in the game.
Both the Mustangs and Bobcats struggled at the free throw line, hitting less than 50 percent (six of 14 attempts). Union was ice cold from the line in the first half, hitting just one of seven attempts.
In the second half, the Bobcats warmed up on the charity line, hitting eight of their 13 tries. Sipp led the surge of scoring at the line, scoring on six of his eight attempts.
From outside the arc, it was VanderZanden and Coon hitting four of the team’s six three-pointers in the second half that enabled the Bobcats to pull out the win.