joseph

Joseph's Chase Murray, right, scored 24 points Saturday in the Eagles' 53-48 win over Elgin.

ELGIN — It was much closer than the first matchup, but the Joseph Eagles boys basketball team again got the best of the Elgin Huskies.

Saturday’s win was an important one, too, as it gave Joseph a major advantage over Elgin in the battle for second place in the north half of the Old Oregon League.

Chase Murray scored 12 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and Hadley Miller added a double-double as Joseph outlasted Elgin on the road, 53-48.

“That’ll help us take second for league on our half, and that helps us get to where we need to be to avoid a matchup (with Nixyaawii) on that Friday night (at districts),” Joseph head coach Olan Fulfer said.

The win puts the Eagles a half-game ahead of the Huskies for second headed into the final week of the regular season, but also gives Joseph a tiebreaker as it swept the Huskies, winning the first contest, 64-47.

In the rematch Miller, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds, was a force early for Joseph, while Murray took over late. 

“It was a good win to get our stuff back together and set us back on our feet and know what we need to work on,” Miller said.

Murray had 12 of his points in the final quarter, opening the period with a steal and dunk that put the Eagles ahead 36-30.

It was a basket that started an offensive frenzy for both teams, which was much different from the lackluster third quarter that saw the teams combine for 12 points on 4-for-18 shooting.

Hayden Hite’s 3-pointer gave Joseph an eight-point lead a minute into the fourth. Tristan Simpson then capped a 7-2 Elgin run with a pair of free throws and a 3-point play to make it 41-38 with 5:30 to go. Murray then went off with the next 10 Joseph points, at one juncture trading hoops with Simpson — Murray’s hook shot putting Joseph up 46-40; Simpson countering with a basket on the low block; Murray responding with a layup before Simpson put in one of his own. 

Murray then hit a crucial 3-pointer for a 51-44 lead with 4:09 to play. Ian Adams had a putback to keep Elgin within five moments later, but the Huskies got no closer despite the fact Joseph didn’t score for the final 3:30.

“They’re shots were falling a little bit more than ours, and that was the decider between it,” Elgin head coach Kevin Johnson said. “Both teams were playing good defense, we had some open looks and were driving to a hoop a lot more, and just couldn’t get it in the cylinder.

Miller had 10 points in the first half, and sparked Joseph’s offense early around the rim with four early points. Mason Ferre hit a 3-pointer for a 9-5 lead and the margin reached 11-5 before Elgin found its groove to take the lead by the end of the first.

Jordon Palmer hit a 3-pointer to start a quarter-ending 12-2 run for the Huskies. A steal and layup by Kaden McClure gave Elgin its first lead at 15-13, and Gage McKay’s layup just before the quarter ended made it 17-13.

A 3-pointer by Hite early in the second gave Joseph the lead back at 19-17, but two layups by McClure and a putback by Wyatt Hallgarth gave Elgin a 23-19 edge. Miller scored for Joseph late for a one-point lead before a McClure free throw sent the teams into the half tied at 26-26.

Adams and McKay both scored early in the third to give Elgin a 30-29 lead, but McKay’s tough jumper with five minutes to play in the period accounted for the final points Elgin would score in the quarter. Murray hit a 3-pointer and later a jumper for a 34-30 lead after three.

McClure scored 12 points to lead Elgin while Simpson had 11, including nine in the final quarter, and McKay added 10

Joseph (16-5 overall, 7-2 OOL) visits Imbler Tuesday, while Elgin (12-8, 7-3) visits Nixyaawii Friday.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct an error in the individual scoring summary.

East Region Sports Editor

Ronald's primary beats are Eastern Oregon University, La Grande High School and the other eight high schools of Union and Wallowa counties. As an avid sports fan, he is primarily reading about or watching sports when he isn't covering a game.

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