TIGERS LOSE TO NO. 1

March 06, 2002 12:00 am
AT GILL COLISEUM: Tyler Lester looks for an open man during this mornings game against No. 1-ratedPhilomath. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).
AT GILL COLISEUM: Tyler Lester looks for an open man during this mornings game against No. 1-ratedPhilomath. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).

CORVALLIS No. 1-rated Philomath proved too much for the La Grande Tigers at least for half a game.

Philomath advanced to the quarter finals with a 44-28 victory this morning over La Grande at the OSAA-US Bank Class 3A Boys Basketball State Championships.

Philomath had a height advantage at almost every position and took full use. The Warriors continually went inside to 6-foot-8 center Kevin Boss and 6-6 forward Tommy Bain to the tune of 15 points combined. Philomath jumped out to a 13-0 lead but beyond that, La Grande never let the lead get more than 21 points.

La Grande outscored Philomath 19-17 in the second half.

Tanner Mellinger led La Grande with nine points.

We relaxed, we played good team basketball, La Grande coach Aaron Mills told his players after the game. We played a lot better second half.

A lot of that first half was jitters, senior guard Greg Schuft said. We got our jitters out of the way in the first half. That first half, that wasnt us. If we play like we did in the second half were going to finish fifth in state.

La Grande, 15-11, will play either Marist or La Salle at 2 p.m. Thursday at Corvallis High School.

The La Grande girls open tournament play tonight against Philomath.

Pat Perkins