Nyssa Girls Hold Off Vale Upset Bid

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John L. Braese

NYSSA – It was typical Vale versus Nyssa on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Throw out the standings, the past scores, the rankings.

The Bulldog girls, trailing by one point with a minute left, came up a free throw, a rebound and a basket by Gracie Johnson to claim a 43-41 Eastern Oregon League victory and a league regular season title.

The Vikings had the first points on the board for the battle as Halle Peterson sank a short jumper at the 7 minute, 38 second mark. Nyssa’s initial point came at the 5:29 point off a free throw by from Brynlee Hartley. With three minutes off the clock, the Viks and Dawgs were tied at four points each and as the quarter ended, Vale held a 14-7 advantage.

Nyssa closed the gap in the second quarter as Vale did not find a point until the 3:14 mark and with 2:08 left in the half, the two teams again held the same point total at 16. Heading into the locker room, the Vikings maintained a 19-16 edge.

After again being knotted up at the 19-point mark in the third quarter, Nyssa took the lead 24-21 with 4:48 showing in the third quarter. The third quarter ended with the Bulldogs holding the advantage, 31-29.

Heading down the stretch, Vale’s Kelsey Stepleton hit one of two free throws to tie up the score at 39 points with one minute and a half to go in the game. Peterson provided the Vikings the lead, 41-39 with one minute left.

With 57 seconds left on the clock, Hartley was fouled and went to the line. Connecting on the first free throw, her second attempt missed but was rebounded by Johnson who promptly pushed the shot back through the net. A foul called and a successful free throw by the Nyssa senior pushed the lead to 43-41 for the Bulldogs.

After a Vale timout with 31 seconds left in the game, a final Viking shot failed to find the mark.

Johnson ended the game with 13 points, but none more important than the final three. Hartley finished with eight points for the Bulldogs and Clarita Arizmendi had six points.

Vale also saw a 13-point showing with Haylee Cleaver leading the Vikings. Peterson had nine points for the night and Stepleton ended with seven points.

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