La Grande brings home hardware from state

By Paul Harder, The Observer March 17, 2014 10:43 am

La Grande senior Troy Williams (12) splits the Tillamook defense during the third-place game Saturday. (PAUL HARDER/The Observer)
La Grande senior Troy Williams (12) splits the Tillamook defense during the third-place game Saturday. (PAUL HARDER/The Observer)
 

CORVALLIS — La Grande’s Class 4A tournament run lost its legs in the second half against Tillamook in the third-place game Saturday.

The Tigers boys basketball team led by five at the half, but couldn’t get a shot to drop through most of the second half during a 52-42 loss.

La Grande finished fifth, bringing home its first trophy since 2010. The Tigers took second that season.

The seniors had just one goal in mind this season — book a trip to Corvallis. That became a reality with an 18-3 regular season, and a win in the opening round of the state tournament against Yamhill-Carlton 74-55.

“It’s a privilege to be able to come out here and play,” senior Tyson Wicklander said. “All I wanted was a chance to be able to come down and experience this one time. It was an amazing team effort throughout the season.”

La Grande went 3-of-30 from the field in the second half but was able to stay in the game in the second half by making 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.

“Our seniors got us here,” La Grande head coach Mark Carollo said. “I wanted them to finish it out. They lost their legs a little bit, and we just couldn’t hit anything down the stretch.”

In fact the Tigers didn’t make a field goal in the final quarter.

Tyson Wicklander hit all three shots after being fouled on a corner 3-point attempt. That put La Grande up 40-37 with 6:41 left to play. The Tigers’ final points of the game came on a pair of free throws by Brandon Dall with 5:38 left in the game, giving La Grande its final lead of the game, 42-20.

Back-to-back jumpers by Zane Wright gave Tillamook the lead in the fourth qaurter. Wright finished with nine points.

Troy Williams appeared to be getting his shot going again in the second half, opening the third quarter with a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to eight points. However, the Tigers went scoreless in for the next five minutes — an 0-9 stretch from the floor. Williams ended the drought with another 3-pointer with 2:03 left to play in the third quarter.

La Grande ended the game shooting 15 percent from the field, but went 15-of-18 from the free-throw line. Tillamook shot 43 percent from the field, and went 10-of-20 from the line.

Troy Williams led La Grande with 12 points, while Brandon Dall finished with 10 points. Jake Powell added eight points.

Tillamook was led by Joey Hancock with 13 points. Matt Strang added 12 points, while Isaac Stellfung finished with 10 points.

La Grande will lose three players from this year’s team — Wicklander, Williams and Brandon Cederholm.