La Grande cut a 10-point deficit to three with less than 30 seconds to play, but couldn't complete the comeback, and the Tigers fell to Mazama, 56-50, in the third-place game of the Class 4A tournament Saturday at Liberty High School.
The Vikings avenged a loss toLa Grande earlier in the season to take third, while the Tigers settled for fifth and ended the season at 20-6 overall.
Head coach Justin MacKay said the team struggled to bounce back following Friday's tough 52-47 loss to Cascade in the semifinals.
"It's hard coming off a loss like that where you feel like you played well and that you could have won," he said. "To come back the next day and be able to put it on the line again is always hard for kids. Our kids wanted to play hard. I don't think it was a lack of effort. I think it was just really hard to find the energy."
The Tigers lacked the energy they played with all season from the outset and never led in the game, trailing by as many as 10 points on six occasions, including 51-41 with 2:27 to play.
But La Grande mounted one last rally. A Madi Wilcox free throw and a driving layup by Avery Albrecht cut the deficit to seven with 1:44 to play. Lacey Miles hit two free throws and found Sadie Browning for a layup, and Kylin Collman hit a driving layup - her only field goal of the game - with 27 seconds left to pull La Grande to within 53-50.
But Amber Lease responded with a free throw to put the Vikings back up by four, and the Tigers had two shots in the closing seconds fall away to seal their fate.
For the full recap, check out the March 14 edition of The Observer.