February 27, 2002 11:00 pm

By C.J. Gish

For The Observer

BAKER CITY Lance Lindells only layin with 35 seconds left in the game gave top-ranked Dufur the breathing room it needed to stay undefeated Wednesday night.

The Rangers improved to 26-0 for the season by beating the scrappy fifth-ranked Powder Valley Badgers 58-54 in the opening round of the OSAA-U.S. Bank State 1A Boys Basketball Tournament.

Powder Valley dropped into the consolation bracket, where it was scheduled to play seventh-ranked Hosanna Christian at 10 this morning. Dufur advanced to play second-ranked Mohawk.

Im extremely proud of our team. A couple of breaks and we get Dufur, Powder Valley coach Blake Jones said.

Trailing 55-54, Brody Turners driving jumper was blocked by Dufur with 1:18 left. Following a Dufur timeout, the Rangers spread the floor on offense and took 38 seconds off the clock before Lindell completed the wide-open layin.

Turner missed a 3-point attempt, and Dufurs Nathan Morris sealed the contest by making a free throw with nine seconds remaining.

Powder Valley played hard and physical, Dufur coach Hollie Darden said. We just had kids make plays when we needed them.

Brandon Beachamp led the Rangers with a game-high 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds.

He played a heck of a game, Darden said.

On the other end of the court, Martin paced Powder Valley (14-10) with 23 points and 14 rebounds.

We had every intention to win, Martin said. Sometimes it just doesnt fall your way.

Martin was a big factor for Powder in the close game, in which the Badgers fell behind 10-2 in the opening 1:11.

From there, Powder went on a 14-12 run to close the quarter, led by six points from Turner and four from Martin.

A stout Badger defense forced the momentum to shift in the second quarter as Powder outscored Dufur 16-8 to take a 32-30 halftime edge.

Beachamp opened the second half with a jumper to tie the contest, but Powder increased the lead to 40-36 when Turner grabbed an offensive rebound for a putback layin.

A Martin layup with 52 seconds left in the quarter gave Powder a 47-43 lead, but Beachamp closed the period with two free throws to pull Dufur within two.

Beachamp hit two jumpers to start to the fourth quarter, and Josh Lane added a driving layin off a Beachamp pass to put Dufur ahead 51-47.

A Martin layin and two free throws tied the contest at 53-all with 4:38 remaining, but Powder would lose the ball on its next three possessions.

The pivotal play occurred with 2:09 left when Martin grabbed a defensive rebound, but let go of the ball under Dufurs basket and fell to the floor. Beachamp grabbed the loose ball and scored to give the Rangers a 55-53 lead.

The telling tale of the game came from the 3-point arc, where Powder normally shoots well. For the night, the Badgers were 0-of-16 from 3-point range.

Powder Valley 16 16 15 7 54

Dufur 22 8 15 13 58

Powder Valley Browne 3-7 0-2 6, Thompson 2-6 0-0 4, Turner 6-20 3-6 15, Heffernan 3-6 0-0 6, Martin 9-11 5-9 23, Taylor, Perkins, Lyman, Baxter 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 23-51 8-17 54.

Dufur Lindell 3-9 2-2 9, Lane 2-5 2-3 6, McMullen 4-12 1-3 9, Morris 2-7 1-1 6, Beachamp 11-20 4-8 26, Wilson, Christopherson 1-2 0-1 2. Totals: 23-55 10-18 58.

Three-pointers Powder Valley 0-16 (Turner 0-9, Thompson 0-4, Browne 0-2, Martin 0-1), Dufur 2-11 (Lindell 1-5, Morris 1-2, McMullen 0-4). Fouled out None. Total fouls Powder Valley 17, Dufur 14. Technical fouls None. Turnovers Powder Valley 19, Dufur 16. Rebounds Powder Valley 43 (Martin 14), Dufur 32 (Beachamp 10). Assists Powder Valley 12 (Turner 6), Dufur 7 (Lane 3).