La Grande head coach Mark Carollo said the Tigers carried a theme of having an “odd quarter every once in awhile” last season.
The Tigers had an odd, or rather, an off quarter, Saturday night, which proved costly in La Grande’s 61-58 loss to Fruitland, Idaho.
LHS had raced out to an early 17-7 lead, and led 17-11 after the first quarter. But the Grizzlies staged a 23-4 run in the second stanza to seize the lead, taking advantage of a 1-for-14 shooting effort by La Grande in the quarter.
“The second quarter was it. Four points,” Carollo said. “When you lose by three those are things that really do affect you. It’s not that we didn’t have some good looks at the hoop, we just had a hard time finishing. Sometimes that’s a concentration thing, and we have to make sure we’re focused the entire time we’re on the floor.”
Fruitland led 34-21 at the half, and by as many as 16 points in the third.
But the Tigers fought back and made it interesting down the stretch.
Braden Bell pulled La Grande within 50-47 with about five minutes to play with a layup. Fruitland pushed the lead back to seven twice, including 60-53 with three free throws in a 20-second span to seemingly put the Tigers away.
But La Grande wasn’t quite done.
Cade Reed got to the rim for a layup and was fouled to cut the deficit to five with 16 seconds to play. He missed the free throw, but the miss kicked off a wild sequence to draw La Grande closer. The Tigers grabbed the offensive rebound, and kicked the ball out to Nojah Chamberlain. The senior’s 3-pointer missed, but LHS against corralled the loose ball and eventually worked it around to Nick Tsiatsos, who buried a trey from the left sideline to make it 60-58 with 3.3 seconds left.
The Grizzlies managed to get the ball inbounds on the ensuing play, though, and added a free throw for the final margin.
See the complete recap in the Dec. 4 edition of The Observer.