Vale’s Marco Ramirez tries for a jump shot as Nyssa defenders converge during a prep basketball game Tuesday night in Vale. (The Enterprise/Kristine de Leon).
VALE – Turnovers haunted the Vale boys varsity basketball team Tuesday night against Nyssa.
The Eastern Oregon League match up at Vale High School showcased two sharpshooters – Nyssa’s Omar Jaquez and Vale’s Tanner Hamilton – and the Vikings kept the game close before the Bulldogs posted a 54-50 win.
The victory improves the Bulldogs’ league record to 4-1 while Vale drops to 1-5 in EOL play.
“It was a really good game but turnovers were the biggest differential,” said Colby Shira, Vale boys coach.
Vale committed 23 turnovers, said Shira.
Hamilton had another stellar performance, scoring 23 points – including five three-point buckets – and Jaquez paced the Bulldog attack with 21.
“Our defensive miscues in the first half hurt us a little bit,” said Shira.
The Vikings kept the game tight – down by four at intermission – and trailed by three points with 33 seconds to go.
“All the second half we battled back and forth,” said Shira.
Shira said the turnovers and defensive mistakes continue to stymie the Vikings.
“I think you can go back to almost every league game and attribute both of those to every loss. And it is not a lot, just three or four possessions but in a close game those are key,” said Shira.
Nyssa coach Aaron Mills said he his team had to “grind it out” Tuesday night.
“Vale is getting better all the time and they’ve become a really good team,” said Mills.
The Viking loss sets up a must-win scenario Saturday night against Burns (2-2 EOL) if they seek postseason play.
Shira said he isn’t worried and is confident his team will be ready when the Hilanders come to town.
“We are not out of it with the parity in this league. We are very much alive. We have four games left – three of them at home – so we definitely have a favorable schedule. We just have to start winning,” said Shira.
In girls play Tuesday, Nyssa claimed revenge on the Lady Vikings from an early-season loss and posted a 53-42 win.
Emmy Johnson led the Vikings with 16 points while teammate Kailey McGourty chipped in 14. Madisyn Hartley led Nyssa with 15 points.
The Lady Vikings (4-2 EOL) will take on No. 1-ranked Burns (4-0 EOL) Saturday night in Vale. Nyssa (3-2 EOL) will face the Hilanders in Burns Friday night.
Nyssa’s Britain Hartley pushes the ball down the court during a girls basketball game against Vale Tuesday night in Vale. The Nyssa girls clinched a 53-42 victory. (The Enterprise/Kristine de Leon).