Vale boys, Nyssa girls take district titles as teams prepare for state basketball competition

LA GRANDE – The Vale girls varsity basketball team nearly pulled off an upset of No. 6-ranked Nyssa Saturday at the Eastern Oregon League district tournament but came up one point short during weekend hardcourt, postseason action.
The Lady Viks (16-10) tied the game with under a minute to go but Nyssa’s London Hartley hit a three-point shot to push the Bulldogs ahead and claim a 46-45 win and the district championship.
“We were right there,” said Vale coach Randy Seals.
Nyssa coach Jeremy Chamberlain said the Saturday district game was a typical contest between Vale and Nyssa.
“Usually, the games are defensive battles and fairly physical. And they come down to a loose ball situation or someone scoring on a broken play. This game was no exception,” said Chamberlain.
The Vikings reached the district title game by defeating Burns 26-22 on Friday, Feb. 17.
Nyssa (21-4), meanwhile, had a bye for the first round of the district tournament.
Seals said while the loss to Nyssa was a “little bit of a bitter pill to swallow,” he felt good about the Vikings’ performance during the tournament.
Both teams head into state play now.
Nyssa will host Westside Christian (16-10) on Friday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m.
Westside Christian is a big and fast team, said Chamberlain. “They have two really good shooters.”
Vale will face Santiam Christian (22-5), on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Adair Village near Corvallis. Game time had not been set by presstime.
Seals said Santiam Christian “is a really solid team. But the girls have come a long way this year and we are going to give it our best shot.”
A win by Vale or Nyssa would advance the team the Class 3A state basketball tournament in Coos Bay next week.
In Class 1A action, the Adrian girls basketball team finished fourth in the district tournament in John Day last weekend. The Antelopes lost to Crane 67-27 in their first-round district game Friday, Feb. 17, then lost to Jordan Valley 54-45 on Saturday, Feb. 18.
The Adrian girls were scheduled to play South Wasco County Tuesday in a state play-in game with results too late for presstimes.
The Jordan Valley girls basketball team finished the weekend district tournament with a third-place mark. Jordan Valley lost to Prairie City/Burnt River 48-44 on Friday, Feb. 17, but rebounded with a win over Adrian Saturday.
Jordan Valley faced Ione/Arlington on Tuesday in a state playoff contest with the result too late for presstime.
In boys district tournament action, Vale (15-11) claimed the Eastern Oregon League title with a 55-52 overtime win against Burns on Saturday, Feb. 18.
The Saturday matchup was the third of the season between the Hilanders and Vikings with Burns winning the previous two games.
Vale beat Nyssa (9-16) 55-47 in on Friday, Feb. 17. Vale will face St. Mary’s of Medford (11-16) Wednesday, Feb. 22, at home at 6 p.m. in a first-round state playoff game.
The Vikings received two huge games from junior Diesel Johnson to claim the district title.
Against Nyssa, Johnson scored 18 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and tallied four assists. Luke McGourty scored 14 points against Nyssa while Skyler Cade added eight.
In the Burns game, Johnson scored 19 points and hauled in 10 rebounds while McGourty scored 10 and Iziah Shaw chipped in nine.
Against Nyssa, the Vikings led by as much as 22 points.
“We played pretty well. We had a good run at the tail end of the second quarter and we were able to keep that going in the third,” said Vale coach Colby Shira.
The overtime win against Burns was a “much different game,” said Shira.
Vale was down by three at halftime and watched the Hilanders put together a scoring binge at the end of the third quarter for a double-digit lead.
The Vikings, though, battled back behind a full-court press and a half-court trap to help tie the game at the end of regulation.
In the overtime period the Vikings used a swarming defense.
“Offensively we executed pretty well in overtime ¬– got to the rim, got some free throws and definitely made them shoot some pretty tough shots,” said Shira.
After losing to Vale Friday, Nyssa dropped a 50-48 decision to Umatilla on Saturday.
The Adrian boys (19-7) claimed second place in the High Desert League district tourney held in John Day.
The Antelopes beat Prairie City 64-49 on Friday, Feb. 17 but lost to Crane 64-57 Saturday in the district title contest.
Adrian was scheduled to play Triangle Lake, Wednesday, Feb. 22, at home at 5:30 p.m.
The Four Rivers Community School boys basketball team (13-13) claimed fourth place at the district tournament.
Four Rivers lost to Crane 67-30 on Friday, Feb. 17 and dropped a 59-38 game to Prairie City Saturday, Feb. 18.
Four Rivers was slated to play Open Door Christian Academy on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 4:30 p.m. in Troutdale.

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