The longest Pirate voyage of the season ended Friday with Neah-Kah-Nie running aground in the mountains of Central Oregon.
Less than a week after the Lady Pirates pounded undefeated Vernonia in a first half scoring explosion, the opposite happened in John Day, with the Prospectors claiming an easy 47-13 win in front of a home crowd.
For the Pirates, it was a 720-mile round trip to end the season far from home.
The win earned Grant Union a berth in the elite eight playoffs at Pendleton and will open against a familiar foe, top-ranked Burns.
It was the defense that stifled and stymied the Pirates in the first half.
Sixth-ranked Grant Union took an 11-4 first quarter lead before shutting down the Pirates completely. Caitlyn Scull scored all of the Pirates’ first-quarter points.
The Pirates were held scoreless in the second quarter, falling behind 26-4 at halftime.
The Prospectors kept up the pressure in the third quarter with an 14-4 run, giving the hosts a 40-8 lead going into the final quarter.
Pirate seniors Annie Romig and Alaina Holm hit the Prospectors with the final five Pirate points in the game in the final quarter.
The loss ended the Neah-Kah-Nie season with a 14-10 record.
“It was a tough game,” he told a reporter after the game, adding his team “battled hard and never gave up.” He also praised Prospector sophomore Kori Pentzer who helped Grant Union get off to a fast start. “She’s a talented player, surrounded by a lot of other talented players,” he said.
The victory moves the underclass-dominated Prospectors back into a showdown with Wapiti League rival Burns in the opening round of the 2A basketball tournament in the Pendleton Convention Center. Only two of the Lady Pros are seniors.
Northwest teams wiped out
The other Northwest teams in the state playoffs were also ousted in the first round.
Vernonia was upset by visiting Bonanza in Saturday’s first-round playoff game, 60-58.
Faith Bible was bounced Friday evening at Western Mennonite, 56-16.
(Editor’s note: Information from Blue Mountain Eagle newspaper was used in the story.)