April 01, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

La Grande High School junior Lauren Sternfeld missed her mid-court shot during halftime of Fridays Portland Trail Blazer game.

Still, Sternfeld, a member of the schools girls basketball team, emerged a winner. Sternfeld received $500 for La Grande High Schools basketball program by taking the shot. The school would have received $1,000 from the Trail Blazers had Sternfeld hit the shot.

Sternfeld was presented with a mounted check that was about four-feet long.

Sternfeld was one of about eight or nine high school students who took a mid-court shot during halftime of Fridays NBA game in Portland between the Trail Blazers and the New York Knicks.

It was nerve wracking and pretty loud, said Sternfeld, daughter of Mark and Toni Sternfeld.

None of the students hit their attempts. All had qualified earlier by hitting center-court shots during halftime of basketball games at their high schools.

Sternfeld was the last student to take a shot. This made things easier for her since all the students before her had missed.

There was no pressure, the junior said.

Following Fridays game, Sternfeld and the other students met the Trail Blazers Steve Smith, who signed autographs and posed for photographs. Sternfeld was joined at the session by nine of her teammates and coaches. All had attended the game courtesy of Sternfeld, who received 10 free tickets from the Trail Blazers.