By John L. Braese
The Nyssa boys basketball team made a quick exit from the state playoff picture, falling to the Colton Vikings 63-42 on Saturday, Feb. 27, in Nyssa.
The teams took to the floor before the hometown crowd interspersed with a small contingent of Colton fans wearing green “6th man” shirts. Meeting at center court were two of the larger players in the 3A ranks: Nyssa’s Boston Thompson at 6-foot-6 and Colton’s Kyver Raasch, also 6-foot-6.
As the Vikings controlled the tip, Colton saw the reach of Thompson as he deflected the first shot of the game into the stands.
The Bulldogs took the ball to the opposite end of the court, and the first point of the game was put on the scoreboard with a successful free throw by Andres Chavez, just 25 seconds into the contest. The Dawgs took their largest and final lead of the game after a basket from Andres Gonzalez with Nyssa up 3-0.
Using a combination of 3-points shooting and quick feeds inside, Colton grabbed the lead at 5-3 off a long 3-pointer by Anthony Basargin. The Vikings continued to extend the scoring and after the first eight minutes of play were up by seven points at 18-11.
Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs were able to cut into the Viking lead and, with six minutes left in the half, Colton led by just 21-17. However, problems at the free throw line for the Bulldogs and quick ball movement leading to easy baskets upped the lead for Colton to 34-19 by the half.
The second half was again marked by poor free throw shooting by the Dawgs and both outside and inside shooting by the Vikings. At the end of the third quarter, Colton had a 44-28 lead.
Midway through the fourth quarter, fouls took a toll as the Vikings lost Mitch Nation and Raasch. With two minutes left in the game, Nyssa lost the services of Gonzalez after he picked up his fifth foul.
“Colton has eight seniors that have lots of experience and that team is hot,” said Nyssa head coach Danny Pratt of the loss. “We knew we needed a good game to beat Colton, and with our free throw shooting tonight and letting them have some easy baskets, we just could not win.”
From the line, the Dawgs went 15-for-35 with 10 of those misses coming in the second half of play.
Gonzalez, the player of the year in the EOL, finished the night with 15 points to lead Nyssa. Chavez added 11 points.
Nyssa finished the season with their third consecutive 3A-5 Eastern Oregon League title and an overall record of 16-11.
“It has been a great season and I am happy with the kids and their play this year,” Pratt said. “I love them all and will really miss coming to practice on Monday to get ready for the next game.”
Colton 18 16 10 19 63
Nyssa 11 8 9 14 42
Colton 16 7 10-18 63. Nyssa 12 1 15-35 42: Thompson 1 0 2-10 4; Coble 1 0 2-2 4; Chavez 5 0 4-11 14; Fuentes 0 1 1-2 4; Martinez 0 0 1-4 1; Gonzalez 5 0 5-8 15.