Vale’s John Wolfe (No. 4) goes in for a lay in during first half action against Umatilla at a game earlier in the season. (The Enterprise/File)
VALE – Riverside feasted on Viking turnovers to clinch a 56-50 victory to bounce the Vale varsity basketball team from playoff contention.
“Twenty-two turnovers were the biggest factor. That hurt,” said Vale coach Colby Shira.
The district play-in game on Friday, Feb. 21, at Vale High School proved to be a turning point of sorts for the Pirates.
Riverside (4-6) moved on to the district tournament where it upset Nyssa 46-27 before losing to Umatilla in the championship game.
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Umatilla moves onto the state tournament as the No. 1 seed from the Eastern Oregon League while Nyssa will hold down the No. 2 seed. Nyssa will face Amity (19-6) at 2 p.m. Pacific time Saturday in Amity in a first-round state playoff contest. Shira said despite the turnovers, his team played well.
“It was probably one of the best basketball games we’ve had all year, outside the turnovers,” said Shira. Brayden Gregory scored 14 points while Adam Diaz poured in 13 and John Wolfe chipped in 11.
The Vikings shot 43% from the field.
“All in all I am proud of what we did. We lost to a team that went to the district tournament and upset the No. 1 team,” said Shira.
Shira said Vale’s youth stymied the Vikings through the season.
“We were very inconsistent down the stretch. We were inconsistent probably just due to the age of the kids we were playing. We were fine for two quarters and then we had two bad quarters,” said Shira.
Vale started four sophomores and one senior during the season. The Vikings could return a seasoned core of players for the 2020-2021 season.
“Hopefully they will stay hungry and we can build off what we accomplished this year,” said Shira. The Vikings ended the season with a 10-14 record.
“I was a little disappointed in our finish, but as far as the future goes we are bringing back the bulk of our varsity squad,” said Shira.
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