TigerScot boys fall out of BMC playoffs

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HERMISTON — The Weston-McEwen boys held a one-point lead late in overtime, but poor free throw shooting and rebounding came back to haunt the TigerScots as they were eliminated from the Blue Mountain Conference basketball playoffs on Saturday.

With less than 10 seconds remaining in the extra session, Union held the ball with a shot to grab the lead. After the Bobcats missed the go-ahead shot, they corralled the offensive rebound and scored a putback — sealing a 46-45 win and a trip to the regional tournament.

The final play succinctly summed up the game, as Union held a 50-28 advantage on the glass and snagged 21 offensive rebounds. The TigerScots kept the game close, however, but a 6-of-23 performance at the free-throw line made sealing the victory a challenge.

“They were just more aggressive on the boards,” Weston-McEwen coach Brian Pickard said. “We were just as big as they are. They were just more aggressive, especially on the offensive boards.

“Normally, we’re a pretty decent free-throw shooting team,” he continued. “For whatever reason, we just couldn’t get them to go.”

The TigerScots fought back from a six-point third-quarter deficit by holding the Bobcats to only five points in the final frame. Weston-McEwen employed a frenetic full-court press in the fourth, which caused a handful of Union’s 24 turnovers in the game.

“In that fourth quarter, in the matter of a minute it was back to a two-point game,” Pickard said. “Then after that it was pretty much back-and-forth. We had plenty of opportunities at the free throw line.”

Linton McAllister led the TigerScots with 10 points and eight rebounds. Chuck Simmons chipped in seven points and dished a game-high five assists.

The TigerScots scored a dramatic come-from-behind victory behind senior Lance Thacker on Friday.

Thacker, who scored the first two points of the game, scored 17 of his game-high 19 points during the second half to lead the TigerScots past Heppner, 49-46.

“That’s probably the best game he’s had all year,” Pickard said of Thacker. “He’s the one who brought it from start to finish. He was all over the place.”

Thacker’s imprint on the game did not end with scoring though, as he also led the TigerScots with four steals and three assists, including two crucial steals down the stretch as Heppner looked to make it a one-possession game.

“I knew we were going to come back when we were down,” Thacker said after the game. “If we play to our full potential, we can go anywhere with our team. We just have to get all five guys connecting together on the same court.”

Thacker’s steals may have sealed the win, but his scoring in the fourth quarter helped the TigerScots claim the lead. With Heppner clinging to a 40-39 edge, Thacker’s right-handed runner gave the TigerScots their first lead since the end of the third quarter.

After Heppner’s CJ Kindle connected on a jumper to re-claim the lead, Thacker glided into the lane and scored a high-arcing shot off the glass to reclaim the lead.

“My shot was just falling tonight,” he said. “(I) was going to the rim — trying to do as much as I can for my team.”

Thacker then found Simmons on the ensuing Weston-McEwen possession for a deep 3-pointer that found nothing but the bottom of the net. Simmons, who finished with 11 points in the game, was only 1-of-6 from beyond the arc at that point, but his confidence never wavered, Pickard said.

“I’m OK with that,” Pickard said of Simmons’ 3. “He’s shooting 40 percent from 3 on the year. He’s hit some huge shots for us.”

Heppner raced out to a 21-11 lead early in the second quarter, but Weston-McEwen closed the first half on an 8-0 run to cut the Mustangs’ lead to 23-19 going into halftime.

Weston-McEwen then rallied back after halftime behind its defense — the TigerScots forced six of Heppner’s 19 turnovers in the third quarter — to tie the game at 35 heading to the fourth.

“We probably had the best week of practice we’ve had all year,” Pickard said. “That’s kind of what we told them at the half, ‘you’ve worked your butt off all week and all year to get to this point. If you’re going to go down, you might as well go down swinging and leave it all out there.’”

McAllister added 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting in the game. He made a habit of carving up the Heppner defense on dribble drives toward the bucket.

“We think he can to the rim at anytime against anybody,” Pickard said. “When he gets to the rim, he’s good at finishing or he’s good at finding the open guy.”

Weston-McEwen loses five seniors — Thacker, Simmons, Kolten Youncs, Dustin De Dios and Justin Burke — to graduation.

“They left everything on the floor. We had a great year,” Pickard said.

Weston-McEwen 49, Heppner 46

HEPPNER (46) — J. Putman 3-8 5-7 11, Grieb 4-10 2-3 13, Hatfield 1-2 0-0 2, Orr 1-4 0-0 2, Kindle 4-9 6-10 14, W. Putman 2-4 0-0 4, Cutsforth 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-37 13-20 46.

WESTON-MCEWEN (49) — Thacker 7-14 5-8 19, Bousquet 3-4 0-2 6, Youncs 1-2 0-0 2, Simmons 3-10 3-4 11, McAllister 4-8 3-6 11, Hall 0-0 0-0 0, Rosecrans 0-0 0-0 0, Zerba 0-0 0-0 0, De Dios 0-2 0-0 0, Burke 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-42 11-20 49.

Hepp 12 11 12 11 — 46

W-M 7 12 16 14 — 49

3-point goals — Hepp 3 (Grieb 3), W-M 2 (Simmons 2). Total fouls — Hepp 19, W-M 19. Fouled out — Hepp (Hatfield). Technical fouls — none. Total rebounds — Hepp 27 (Putman 6), W-M 23 (Simmons 5, McAllister 5). Turnovers — Hepp 19, W-M 13. Assists — Hepp 3 (Putman, Grieb, Cutsforth), W-M 6 (Thacker 3).

Weston-McEwen 45, Union 46

WESTON-MCEWEN (45) — Hall 1 0-0 3, Thacker 3 1-2 7, Bousquet 0 1-2 1, Simmons 3 0-2 7, Youncs 2 3-5 7, Rosecrans 2 0-0 4, De Dios 1 0-0 3, Burke 1 0-0 3, McAllister 4 1-12 10. Totals 17 6-23 45.

UNION (46) — Nowak 0 2-3 2, Kennon 3 0-0 6, Sipp 3 0-0 7, Coon 2 2-6 7, Grays 3 3-4 9, C. Houck 5 0-2 10, Evans 1 0-0 2, L. Houck 1 1-2 3. Totals 18 8-17 46.

W-M 11 12 8 11 3

Union 12 10 15 5 4

3-point goals — W-M 5 (Hall, Simmons, McAllister, De Dios, Burke), Union 2 (Sipp, Coon). Total fouls — W-M 19, Union 18. Fouled out — Union (Grays). Technical fouls — none. Total rebounds — W-M 28 (McAllister 8), Union 50 (C. Houck 17). Turnovers — W-M 18, Union 24. Assists — W-M 10 (Simmons 5), Union 5.

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