Battle of determination goes to La Grande girls in overtime

La Grande's lone 3-pointer in 18 tries sends the game into OT and the Tigers win 36-31 at Mac-Hi.

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MILTON-FREEWATER — What this one lacked in basketball artistry was more than made up in intensity as La Grande and Mac-Hi opened the Greater Oregon League girls basketball season here Friday.

The Tigers hit 1-of-18 3-point attempts, but it proved to be the biggest basket of the night.

La Grande’s Tessa Tsiatsos drained a trey three seconds before the final buzzer to tie the Pioneers at 30-30 and send the game to overtime. And despite losing four players to fouls, committing 28 turnovers and shooting 18 percent from the floor for the game, La Grande persevered for a 36-31 win.

"It wasn’t a battle of excellence," Mac-Hi coach Curtis Pumphrey said. "But it was a battle of determination."

The Pioneers, behind buckets from Alicia Munk, Belen Betancourt and an old-fashioned three-point play from Sierra Burchell, raced to a 7-0 lead to open the contest.

The Tigers clawed back to grab a 15-13 lead at intermission on Paige Aldred’s jumper at the second-quarter horn.

Avery Wells banked in a jumper with 1:42 left in the third as the Pioneers regained the lead at 21-20. Betancourt added a baseline drive and Mac-Hi took a 23-22 lead to the fourth.

Kasey Erm got a putback to run the Pioneer lead to 25-22 with 30 seconds gone in the fourth. The Pioneers would not score again until a Burchell free throw tied the game at 26-26 with 2:36 left.

Burchell hit 2-of-4 free throws to increase the Pioneer lead to 28-26 with 1:56 left.

Aldred added a Tiger free throw with 40 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 28-27.

With 15 ticks left, Betancourt inbounded the ball from half court to Burchell, who broke clear and scored on a layin for a 30-27 Pioneer lead with 11 seconds left.

Burchell landed on her hip on the play and left with an injury.

"She has problems with her hip, and she went off to the hospital," Pumphrey said of his senior. "Hopefully, she’ll be back. She is a trooper and she will bounce back."

The Tigers moved the ball to front court and Tsiatsos drained the only trey of the game to tie it at 30-30 with three left.

"I’ll give credit to La Grande," Pumphrey said. "They had a senior girl (Tsiatsos) pull up at the end of the game and make a great shot."

The Pioneers proved to be their own worst enemy as Mac-Hi hit only 3-of-13 free throws in the final period, and only 11-of-30 for the game.

"One free throw would have made the difference," Pumphrey said. "We had open layins, and there are a lot of ways you could point the finger. It wasn’t a pretty game."

Without Burchell, who finished with a game-high 14 points, the Tigers outscored Mac-Hi 6-1 in overtime to pull out the win.

Erm and Betancourt tallied four points each as Mac-Hi only converted 10-of-38 shots from the field.

Erm grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds for the Pioneers.

"She (Erm) does a great job," Pumphrey said. "She can find the boards."

Mac-Hi played at Riverside in a non-league affair Saturday.

LA GRANDE (36) — Aldred 4-14 4-6 12, Tracy 0-0 1-2 1, Tsiatsos 1-8 1-2 4, Alexander 0-7 0-0 0, Brown 1-5 0-0 2, Mattson 0-1 3-4 3, Moore 0-6 0-1 0, Mills 2-9 1-4 5, Powers 2-5 0-0 4, Partney 2-7 1-6 5. Totals 12-62 11-25 36.

MAC-HI (31) — Roeder 1-10 1-4 3, Erm 1-6 2-4 4, Burchell 4-7 6-14 14, Betancourt 2-11 0-3 4, Wells 1-3 0-0 2, Munk 1-1 1-2 3, Holman 0-0 0-1 0, Vaughan 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 10-38 11-30 31,

La Grande 3 12 7 8 6 — 36

Mac-Hi 7 6 10 7 1 — 31

3-point goals —LaG 1-18 (Aldred 0-4, Tsiatsos 1-7, Alexander 0-3, Moore 0-2, Partney 0-2), Mac 0-5 (Roeder 0-4, Betancourt 0-1). Total fouls—LaG 28, Mac 31. Fouled out—LaG (Mills, Partney, Mattson, Tracy), Mac (Erm, Munk). Technical fouls—none. Rebounds—LaG 54 (Partney 9), Mac 47 (Erm 15). Turnovers—LaG 28, Mac 31. Assists—LaG 6 (Aldred 2, Brown 2, Mills 2), Mac 5 (Betancourt 3).

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