A matchup of two of the top four teams in the OSAA standings quickly turned into a one-sided affair thanks to something the Joseph Eagles girls basketball team has used to its advantage all season.
The full-court press.
Emma Hite scored a game-high 16 points, and No. 3 Joseph used its pressure to trigger a game-opening 13-0 run on the way to a 44-27 win over the No. 4 Powder Valley Badgers Friday in Old Oregon League play in Joseph.
“Our press sets us up. That’s what we do,” Joseph Head Coach Lance Homan said. “We’re really athletic, but we’re not really big, so for us to get moving we’ve got to get our hands in the passing lanes. We’ve gotta trap. We’ve gotta move because that’s where we’re at our best.”
The trapping man-to-man pressure frazzled the Badgers into numerous first-quarter turnovers and led to some easy baskets for Joseph. Hite hit two early 3-pointers during the rally, with her second giving the Eagles a 13-0 lead with a minute to play in the first quarter.
“We read each other really well. That’s a huge thing that helps a lot with our press,” Hite said.
Her banked-in 3-pointer early in the second quarter made it an 18-2 margin and was an indicator it was primed to be Joseph’s night. A late steal and jumper by Haley Miller gave the Eagles a 25-8 lead at the half, and the Badgers pulled no closer than 13 points in the second half.
“We were aware of their press, and I did not think we would panic like we did,” Powder Valley Head Coach Allen Bingham said. “We did not handle their press as well as I thought we should. That first quarter was the difference in the game.”
Hite’s scoring effort also showed another strength of the Eagles this season, that anyone can step up to score when needed. Sabrina Albee, who has typically been the team’s leading scorer, had 10 points Friday. Albee had eight of her points in the second half to help put the game away. Meanwhile Madelyn Nelson scored all seven of her points in the first half and triggered the scoring early.
“They feed off each other, they love each other, and they’re a good group,” Homan said.
“It doesn’t matter (who scores),” Hite added. “We all are high scoring. It’s pretty spread out.”
Megan Bingham had 11 points — all in the second half — to lead the Badgers, who lost for just the third time this season. Belle Blair added eight points.
The contest was just the latest high-profile game for the Eagles, who have now played the No. 1, No. 2, No. 4, No. 5, No. 8 and No. 11-ranked teams in the OSAA’s 1A rankings, and the No. 4 2A team. Homan said that helped prep the Eagles for Friday.
“They don’t go into games scared. They’ve traveled to the west side to play the best teams,” he said. “They want it. Games like this are something they look forward to, and they brought it (Friday).”
And it may be the only regular-season matchup between the teams, but they are currently the top two teams in the OOL, and would be on pace to meet in the district tournament in February.
“We’ll probably get another chance at them,” Bingham said.
Tigers fall to Baker
The La Grande Tigers girls basketball team saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end with a 52-39 road loss to the Baker Bulldogs Friday in Greater Oregon League play.
The Tigers hung with Baker much of the night, trailing by two after one quarter and 30-25 at the half. But Baker held La Grande to just four points in the third quarter to take a 42-29 lead and held on to take sole possession of first place in the GOL.
Camryn Collman had 12 points — 10 in the first half — to lead La Grande. Jacie Howton added seven points.
The Tigers (10-4 overall, 2-1 GOL) host Ontario Friday.
Nixy edges Huskies
The Elgin Huskies girls basketball team fell just short in a matchup against the Nixyaawii Golden Eagles on the road Friday, falling 37-33 in Old Oregon League action.
Tymra Anderson led the way with 11 points for Elgin, while teammate Jocelyn Palmer had seven points.
Cove hammers Imbler
The Cove Leopards girls basketball team shot 53 percent as it rolled to a 57-26 home blowout win over the Imbler Panthers Friday in Old Oregon League play.
Maggie Frisch scored 17 points in the win for Cove, which earned its first OOL win of the season. Kierra Moore added 10 points.
The Leopards built a 12-point lead by halftime, then outscored Imbler 19-6 in the third for a 46-21 advantage.
Caysie McGinness led the Panthers with 18 points.
Imbler (4-10 overall) travels to Powder Valley Friday.
Bobcats bury TigerScots
Callie Glenn and Abriel O’Reilly both scored 13 points as the Union Bobcats girls basketball team coasted to a 57-24 road victory over the Weston-McEwen TigerScots Friday in Blue Mountain Conference play.
Autumn Daggett added eight points for Union, which used a 20-point second quarter to build a 31-14 halftime lead before holding the TigerScots scoreless in the third for a 43-14 lead.
Cougars top Grizzlies
The Wallowa Cougars girls basketball team earned a 42-33 road win over the Griswold Grizzlies Friday in Old Oregon League action.
The Cougars build a lead by halftime of 23-17, then stretched their margin to 36-22 by the end of the third to help lock up their third OOL victory.
Elgin bounces back for win
The Elgin Huskies girls basketball team rebounded from a close loss Friday to earn a 46-37 road win over the Pine Eagle Spartans Saturday in Old Oregon League action.
Jayden Palmer scored 18 points in the win to lead the Huskies, while Tymra Anderson added 14 points.
Elgin (6-8 overall, 3-3 OOL), which moved to fourth in the league with the win and third in the OOL North, hosts McLoughlin Tuesday.
Bobcats fall to league-leading Prospectors
Callie Glenn heated up in the second half to score 15 of her game-high 19 points, but it wasn’t enough to fuel a comeback at the Union Bobcats girls basketball team fell at home to the Grant Union Prospectors, 55-41, Saturday in Blue Mountain Conference play.
Grant Union, which led 18-13 at halftime, netted 22 points in the third to build a double-digit lead at 40-28, then added on in the fourth to stay undefeated in BMC play.
Abriel O’Reilly added six points for the Bobcats.
Union (10-7 overall, 4-3 BMC) travels to Enterprise Saturday.
Wallowa takes down Cove
Shanna Rae Tillery scored 14 points to lead a balanced attack as the Wallowa Cougars girls basketball team pulled away in the second half for a 46-32 home win over the Cove Leopards Saturday in Old Oregon League play.
Jamie Johnston and Kyla Hook both added eight points for Wallowa, who led just 16-15 at the half before the offense got rolling. Tillery had 12 of her points in the second half to power the surge.
Maggie Frisch scored 10 points to lead Cove, while Kierra Moore added six points.
Wallowa (7-9 overall, 4-2 OOL) travels to Elgin Friday, while Cove (7-7, 1-3) visits Pine Eagle Friday.
Badgers blast Griswold
Autumn Davis scored 10 points to lead nine players in scoring as the Powder Valley Badgers girls basketball team shook off Friday’s loss to Joseph to earn a 51-18 home win over the Griswold Grizzlies Saturday in Old Oregon League action.
Logan Nedrow and Josi Krieger both added eight points for the Badgers.
Powder Valley (15-3 overall, 6-1 OOL) travel to Echo today for a nonleague matchup.
Outlaws diffuse Rockets
Shelby Moncrief had 11 points to lead nine players in scoring and four in double figures as the Enterprise Outlaws girls basketball team pulled away in the second half for a 65-31 home win over the Pilot Rock Rockets on Saturday in Blue Mountain Conference play.
Ashlyn Gray, Lexie Gassett and Zari Bathke each added 10 points, and Rilyn Kirkland just missed a double-double, finishing with eight points and 12 rebounds.
The Outlaws led 28-19 at the half, then used a 20-9 third quarter to break the game open.
Enterprise (13-4 overall, 5-2 BMC) travels to Weston-McEwen Friday.
Eagles drop Nixy
The Joseph Eagles girls basketball team stayed undefeated in Old Oregon League play with a 51-34 home win over the Nixyaawii Golden Eagles on Saturday. Stats were not available. Joseph (15-2 overall, 5-0 OOL) hosts Griswold on Friday.