The La Grande boys basketball team was in need of a home victory after dropping two games on its own floor early in the season.
Thanks to a balanced scoring attack, the Tigers did just that.
G.T. Blackman led five La Grande players in double figures with 16 points, and the Tigers held off The Dalles Wednesday, 74-68.
Braden Bell added 12 points, while Nojah Chamberlain, Nick Tsiatsos and Kaden Chandler each scored 10 points. Bell and Chandler scored all of their points in the second half.
The performance offset The Dalles’ own balanced effort. Dakota Murr led the Riverhawks with 18 points. Jacob Hernandez added 16 points, Oscar Fernandez scored 11 and both Josh Nisbet and Dalles Seufalemua scored 10 points.
La Grande, which trailed by as much as eight points in the second quarter after The Dalles started the period on a 14-4 run, inched within 33-32 by halftime on a rebound and putback by Isaac Chamberlain. The teams traded the lead five times in the early stages of a seesaw third quarter. The Tigers jumped ahead 40-35 on a layup by Chandler, only to see the Riverhawks hit back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 41-40 lead on Seufalemua’s trey.
Bell, though, countered with a 3-pointer and a layup, then fed Blackman for a layup and a 47-41 lead late in the third quarter. The Tigers never trailed again and went on to lead by as much as 11 points in the closing minutes.
La Grande (6-5 overall) opens Greater Oregon League play Friday in Ontario.
For the complete recap, see the Jan. 5 edition of The Observer.