Nyssa appeared to be dead to rights with just over five minutes to play in their game against La Grande Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs were trailing by 13 points, had been manhandled in the rebound category and had watch the Tigers rattle off a 17-5 run dating back to the third quarter.
Then Nyssa got hot from the 3-point line to stun La Grande.
Pedro Chavez scored 31 points and hit eight 3-pointers, including the game-winner with just 17 seconds to play, and Nyssa stormed back to steal a 50-48 win from the Tigers at La Grande High School.
“He shot the ball extremely well. (He) made some tough shots, had some easy ones as well,” La Grande head coach Mark Carollo said of Chavez. “We just had to do a better job finding him. When a kid goes off for that much you have to recognize where he is on the court at all times, especially late in the game like that.”
Chavez and Omar Jacquez
both hit a pair of treys during a 14-0 run, which ended with a layup by Boston Thompson for a 47-46 Nyssa lead.
“We’re a little bit of an inexperienced team. I think tha caught up with us in the fourth quarter,” Carollo said. “We got a little tentative. Some costly turnovers, and again, some big shots by them. You have to give them credit where credit is due.”
Kaden Chandler, who led La Grande with 16 points, converted a layup on the other end to put the Tigers back up with 2:20 to play. The teams traded empty possessions until Chavez got open on an inbounds play and drained the winning shot from the left corner.
Nojah Chamblerain’s last-chance shot for the win, which was well contested, fell short.
The comeback offset what had, to that point, been a dominant second half for the Tigers on a night they crushed Nyssa on the boards.
For the game, La Grande grabbed 49 rebounds to just 22 for Nyssa, and had 25 offensive rebounds. The Tigers repeated crashed the boards against the bigger Bulldogs, who featured a 6-foot-8 player in Thompson, and earned themselves several second and third chances.
Chander himself on five occasions grabbed a rebound and went back up for the score. He did so on the opening possession of the third quarter give La Grande a 27-24 lead, and put the Tigers up five later with another putback. G.T. Blackman, who had eight points, collected a putback of his own to give LHS a 37-29 lead late in the third. Chandler added two more putbacks early in the fourth, that last giving the Tigers a 44-31 lead.
“I was actually happy with his effort tonight,” Carollo said of Chandler. “I think his motor was definitely going. Had that extra kick to really be a monster on the glass. He really played a great game.”
The downside to La Grande’s 25 offensive boards was it meant a rough night shooting, and indeed, the Tigers shot just 28 percent (20-for-72) on the night. Nyssa, conversely, shot 38 percent (18-for-48). The Bulldogs were also 11-for-29 from 3-point range, and 5-for-9 in the fourth quarter.
Carollo said the game would have been much different had the Tigers converted around the basket, where they missed on several opportunities.
“We have to go up searching to score the ball (and) finish at the rim instead of hoping for or expecting a call. Welcome the contact as opposed to shying away from it,” he said.
The teams traded the lead seven times in the first half, which La Grande closed on a 7-0 run to take a 25-24 advantage at break on a late floater by Blackman.
Nick Tsiatsos added seven points for La Grande (0-2 overall), which travels to the Madras Invitational Friday.
Prep Girls Roundup
The La Grande girls basketball team couldn’t keep up with Nyssa down the stretch, falling on the road against the Bulldogs Tuesday, 48-39.
The Tigers (0-3 overall) were down just 33-29 after three quarters, but the Bulldogs outscored them 15-10 in the fourth to seal the win.
“It was a really hard-fought game,” head coach Justin MacKay said. “The girls played really hard and I was really happy with their effort. Nyssa is a team that puts a lot of pressure on the ball defensively and is very disciplined.
Camryn Collman led La Grande with 17 points, but was the only Tiger in double figures. Lauran Rinker added six points.
La Grande is off until Dec. 16 when it faces Irrigon at Hermiston.
La Grande JV 49, Wallowa 34: The Cougars dropped to 1-3 with a road loss against the La Grande junior varsity.
Stats were not provided.
Wallowa faces Monument/Dayville at the Wallowa Lions Tournament Friday.