VALE – Umatilla boys basketball coach Scott Bow was on the bench to see two very different Viking teams play two very different games in less than 24 hours this weekend.
On the road trip east, Umatilla (12-10, 5-3) suffered through a 67-41 loss to Eastern Oregon League-leading Nyssa (17-5, 8-0) on Friday before bouncing back for a 63-47 victory over Vale (10-11, 4-4) on Saturday..
“I am just happy we got off the bus ready to play today,” Bow said after the win over Vale, adding that in Friday's loss, "it was like we were still sitting on the bus. We were not ready to play Nyssa. That game last night was not the team we are.”
Umatilla did appear bus-lagged Friday night. After taking the opening tip, the Nyssa boys put quick points on the board on a jumper by Armando Pedraza, going on to build a 9-0 margin with less than three minutes gone in the game. Umatilla found its first points when Oscar Campos found himself alone under the basket for an easy two points.
As the Bulldogs built to a 13-2 lead, Bow had enough and called for a timeout.
The discussion did not help much as Nyssa continued on for a 33-17 halftime lead and extended the margin to 50-26 going into the final quarter.
In the loss, Andrew Earl finished with 13 points, the lone Umatilla player in double figures. Ramiro Alvarez put in seven points.
Nyssa, still perfect in Eastern Oregon League play, continued to show opponents the team’s hot shooting, draining six three-pointers for the night. Leo Barba led the Bulldogs with 16 points and Pedro Chavez and Nico Gomeza both finished with 15 points.
The effort and the results were different for Bow and Umatilla on Saturday. Taking the court in Vale, the Viking-versus-Viking matchup went the way of Umatilla, 63-47.
Bow had reason to be worried for a repeat of the Nyssa game early in Vale. Vale jumped out to an early 10-2 lead before the Umatilla offense caught fire. With the clock showing 2:42 left in the first quarter, Umatilla grabbed the first lead of the night at 11-10 and never looked back.
The Vale offense stalled after the hot start and with the first quarter in the books, Umatilla led 20-10. The margin continued throughout the game with Umatilla leading 33-21 at the half and 47-36 at the end of the third quarter.
Using a stall technique of passing the ball around and waiting for a foul in the final quarter, Umatilla went on for the win.
“We did not move the ball well and were stagnant on offense,” said Vale coach Colby Shira after the loss. “On defense, we were not getting to our spots.”
In a recent eight-game stretch, Vale is 6-2, including a close, tough 45-41 victory over Riverside Friday night, a game Shira said tired his young team.
“There is no excuse for tonight’s loss, but we were in a dogfight last night against Riverside,” he said. “In the second half, this turned into a game from the free-throw line and we not ready. We were playing well until tonight.”
In the loss, Vale was led by sophomore John Wolfe and his 11 points. Brayden Gregory added 9 points.
The Umatilla win was spear headed by Earl’s 20 points. Lynkin McLeod put in 11 points.
The league season is quickly winding down.
Nyssa hopes to finish league perfect with a home game against Vale (10-11, 4-4) on Tuesday and a road game versus Burns (11-11, 4-4) on Friday.
In addition to the road game against Nyssa on Tuesday, Vale will host Burns on Saturday.
Umatilla is on the road Thursday to Irrigon (2-17, 0-8) and finishes the regular season with a home game versus Riverside (12-9, 3-5) on Friday.