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4A La Grande muscles up on TD

Rebounding plays big part in the Tigers’ 74-68 victory

The Dalles guard Josh Nisbet, in front, moves past La Grande’s GT Blackman in Wednesday’s non-league boys’ basketball contest played in La Grande. The 4A Tigers used a 42-35 second-half run to grab a 74-68 victory.

Photo courtesy Ronald Bond/La Grande Observer
The Dalles guard Josh Nisbet, in front, moves past La Grande’s GT Blackman in Wednesday’s non-league boys’ basketball contest played in La Grande. The 4A Tigers used a 42-35 second-half run to grab a 74-68 victory.



At the start of the season, The Dalles boys’ basketball coach Nathan Morris expressed the importance of outworking opposing teams.

If they were going to make any kind of move in the 5A ranks, effort was critical.

Wednesday in La Grande, the 4A Tigers out-rebounded and outplayed the Riverhawks, erasing a 33-32 halftime deficit with a 42-35 second-half run to pick up a 74-68 victory.

“I think it’s a game that we definitely should have won, but offensive rebounds and defensive breakdowns just killed us,” Morris said. “It was lack of hustle and intensity, mental breakdowns, blocking out and a lack of rotation on their shooters that played a part in this loss. You can’t play like we did and give up 74 points against a team and expect to win on the road.”

Before those second-half struggles, TD had a lead and used a balanced attack to seize the momentum.

Down 16-14 in the second quarter, Jacob Hernandez caught fire with two 3-pointers and a pair of two-point shots, Dalles Seufalemua and Oscar Fernandez added 3-pointers, Josh Nisbet added two points, and Dakota Murr hit 1 of 3 free throws to give the Riverhawks a 33-32 lead.

Murr and Nisbet scored five points each in the third period, and the post tandem of Seufalemua and Henry Lee drilled 3-point shots; but La Grande’s Kaden Chandler and GT Blackman combined for 14 of the team’s 22 points for a 54-49 advantage entering the final quarter.

La Grande, the 4A division’s No. 15-ranked squad, ended the game with a 20-19 fourth-quarter output for the six-point home win.

In all, the Tigers (6-5 overall) totaled 30 field goals, five 3-pointers, and shot 9 of 18 from the line, as five players hit double figures, led by Blackman, who had 16 points.

Also for La Grande, Braden Bell had 12 points, and teammates Nick Tsiatsos, Nojah Chamberlain and Chandler each checked in with 10 points.

For the Hawks, Murr rattled off 18 points, 13 in the second half, Hernandez scored 16 points, five in the second half, and Fernandez tallied 11 points on four field goals and a free throw.

Nisbet was held to two first-half points and ended up with 10, and Seufalemua had a 10-point effort, as the Riverhawks hit on 23 field goals, 10 3-pointers and made 12 of 17 free throws.

The Dalles is riding a string of three losses in its last four games and have allowed 68.7 points a game in that span, a 13-point jump from the first seven contests of the season (55.7).

“We are focused on working to get better,” Morris said. “We want to take it possession-by-possession and doing all the little things that make us successful. In order for us to compete in league, we need to find a way to execute as best as we can.”

No. 13 TD (6-5) makes a trip to Crook County for a non-league hoops matchup against the 4A Cowboys (2-9) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10.



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