UNION — A major run spanning the third and fourth quarters Friday turned what was shaping up to be a close contest between two of the top three teams in the Blue Mountain Conference into a dominant win for the Union Bobcats.
Union ended the third quarter on a 15-2 tear and extended the run to 22-3 early in the fourth on its way to a 57-39 home win over the Stanfield Tigers.
“Good win for us. Stanfield’s a great team, and I expect good things from them on their home court,” head coach Rhondie Rickman-Johansen said. “I love playing good teams. They're going to be a force to contend with.”
The teams entered Friday as two of the only three unbeaten teams in BMC play, along with Enterprise, and jockeyed back and forth for 2-1/2 quarters. Stanfield, in fact, took a 29-28 lead with 5:16 to play in the third on a runner by Nyah Tejeda, who had 19 points to lead all scorers.
Callie Glenn, who had 16 points to lead Union, countered with a 3-pointer 13 seconds later to give the Bobcats the lead for good and trigger the game-breaking salvo. Taylar Daggett and Brianna Kohr each hit 3s as part of the run to help push the lead to 43-31 after three, and Stanfield didn’t score in the final 4:13 of the quarter. Another field goal by Kohr and consecutive steals and layups by Glenn and Autumn Daggett gave Union its largest lead of the night at 50-32 with 5:48 to play.
“We started playing better defense, getting steals. A couple girls got on fire and were shooting really well,” said Audrey Wells, who had eight points for the Bobcats. “We just started working well together as a team and that gave us an edge.”
Union ramped up the defense in the second half to put the game away, limiting Stanfield to just 25% shooting after halftime. The Tigers also committed 25 turnovers on the night, 14 in the first half. Union’s defense played a key role in forcing those turnovers as it collected 16 steals.
“We really pride ourselves on defense,” Rickman-Johansen said. “These girls, I hope they would say they like to play defense. We drill that a lot. Defense is a game changer.”
Both teams scored almost at will, it seemed, in the early stages of the game. Union shot 45% in the opening quarter and Stanfield 44% as the Bobcats took a 15-14 lead after one.
Stanfield briefly claimed the lead late in the second quarter at 22-21 on a field goal by Alexis Shelby and a runner by Tejeda. Two free throws by Taylar Daggett in the final seconds put Union ahead at the half, 26-24.
Glenn and Tejeda were the only players in double figures for their respective teams. Union's Taylar Daggett added nine points, while Shelby finished with six for Stanfield. Tejeda also grabbed a team-high six rebounds for the Tigers.
La Grande 71, Ontario 29: Camryn Collman scored 25 points Friday, Lauran Rinker added 16, and the Tigers blasted Ontario on the road in Greater Oregon League play.
Collman scored 18 points in the first half and hit four 3-pointers to help La Grande jump out to a 32-16 lead at the break, and Rinker scored 11 of her points in the second half. Ella Dunlap added nine points, all in the second half.
The Tigers (10-5 overall, 1-1 GOL) host McLoughlin Friday.
Imbler 23, Griswold 21: Kenna Whitmore scored 10 points Friday and had a pair of field goals in the fourth quarters as the Panthers picked up their first win of the season in an Old Oregon League contest.
Joelle Treat added six points for Imbler, which had a 13-10 halftime lead and was up 17-13 after three before holding on for the win.
Enterprise 51, Heppner 35: The Outlaws pulled away in the fourth quarter Friday to pick up a key Blue Mountain Conference victory on the road.
Enterprise led just 30-29 after three but scored 21 points in the final period, led by seven points from Carsyn Miller and six by Zari Bathke, to lock up the win over the defending state champions.
The Outlaws had built an early lead and were up 25-18 at the half before the Mustangs closed the gap in the third.
Ashlyn Gray and Miller scored 13 points apiece to lead Enterprise, while Bathke added 10 points.
Wallowa 41, Powder Valley 36: Jamie Johnston and Shanna Rae Tillery each scored 12 points as the Cougars fended off the Badgers for an important Old Oregon League win at home.
The Cougars took a 22-20 lead at the half, doubled it to 28-24 after three quarters, and had enough offense in the fourth to hold on.
Keanna Bingham led Powder Valley with nine points.
Nixyaawii 60, Cove 31: The Golden Eagles pulled away in the fourth quarter Friday, outscoring Cove 21-2 in the final period for an Old Oregon League win at home.
Nixyaawii outscored the Leopards in each quarter en route to building a 39-29 lead after three quarters, then went off in the fourth.
Kierra Moore scored 13 points to lead the Leopards and Elli Hines-Dunlap added seven points.