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The Braves boys advance to the 4A state tournament, while Banks' girls and Faith Bible's seasons end with a loss.

COURTESY PHOTO: BEN LONERGAN - Faith Bible's Ashley Lohman dribbles through a sea of Union defenders during the Falcons' opening round playoff game of the OSAA 2A Girls State Basketball Tourament March 3, at the Pendleton Convention Center.It was a mixed bag of results for western Washington County teams in the basketball state playoffs this past week, with the Banks boys advancing to the 4A state tournament, while Banks' girls' season came to an end in a home loss to Corbett

The Faith Bible girls—who earned a trip to the 2A State Tournament with a home win the previous week over Colton—lost their opening tournament game to eventual state champ Union 53-30 March 3, then dropped a close 48-44 game to Lakeview in the consolation round a day later.

Faith's Alexis Mallory led the Falcons in scoring, averaging 13.5 points over the team's two games.

Faith finished the season with a 25-5 overall record.

Banks 58, La Grande 55

Despite relinquishing a 15-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Braves advanced to the OSAA 4A Boys State Tournament with a three-point road win over the Tigers thanks to a last second shot compliments of senior Cooper Gobel.

COURTESY PHOTO: ANNE NEVIS - Banks' Madison Walker drives to the hoop during the Braves' first round playoff game against Corbett Saturday, March 5, at Banks High School.After La Grande had tied the game with 14 seconds left on the clock, the 6-foot-5 guard took the inbound pass, dribbled across midcourt and found nothing but the bottom of the net on a 25-footer as time expired.

Banks head coach Pat Marlia said he wasn't surprised by the senior's game-winner, citing his preparation for moments just like that throughout the year.

"We didn't call timeout and I just let Cooper go," Marlia said. "He attacked the defender and side-stepped to a three. It's a shot he takes a lot in practice and games."

The coach added that beyond Gobel, he thought the team handled itself well in the eye of the Tigers' comeback storm, which he thought ultimately made the difference.

"We did a good job of staying poised when La Grande went on that run in the fourth," he said.

COURTESY PHOTO: BEN LONERGAN - Falcons' opening round playoff game of the OSAA 2A Girls State Basketball Tourament March 3, at the Pendleton Convention Center.Banks led by 10 after a quarter, eight at the half, and led 48-33 with 5:20 remaining in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers made five of six three-pointers over a three minute stretch—including three from La Grande's Brady Hutchins—and tied the game 53-53 before Gobel's last second shot.

Marlia said the win was exciting, but with a first-round game with No. 3-seeded Marshfield on the horizon they'd have to refocus—and quickly.

"We feel good about the win, but we need to make sure that's not the highlight of our season though," the coach said. "It's a great moment but one that we need to put on the back burner for now and focus on Marshfield."

The coach added that despite being the underdog going into the game with the Pirates, he feels the tournament is anyone's for the taking.

"I think down at the tourney it's anyone's game," he said. "It's really going to come down to who doesn't let the moment get the best of them. We have a good senior group that keeps our kids grounded, so we will see what happens."

COURTESY PHOTO: ANNE NEVIS - Banks' Hailey Evans scans the Corbett defense during the Braves' first round playoff game against Corbett Saturday, March 5, at Banks High School.Gobel led Banks with 26 points, while Charlie White added 13, Michael Vereen 12, Ben Mayo 4, and Billy Harris 3.

Corbett 66, Banks 48

It didn't end how they'd hoped, but it did in fact end for the Banks girls basketball team Saturday, March 5, at Banks High School.

The Braves got behind early and could never recover in their first round loss to the Cardinals.

Banks head coach Brandon Begley was obviously displeased with the outcome, but said that while not at their best, much of the credit has to go to Corbett and their standout player Ally Schimel.

"We were disappointed with the outcome because we know that we didn't play our best basketball for a majority of the game, but a lot of the credit for that needs to go to Corbett," Begley said. "Ally Schimel showed she's one of the top three players in the state at the 4A level and carried her team to the victory."

COURTESY PHOTO: BEN LONERGAN - Faith Bible's Alexis Mallory fights for a loose ball during the Falcons' opening round playoff game of the OSAA 2A Girls State Basketball Tourament March 3, at the Pendleton Convention Center.The Braves finished the season with a 17-8 overall record and still have a Cowapa League title to lean on, and despite the loss Begley insisted he wasn't going to let the disappointing end ruin what was an otherwise great season, and a great career for Banks' four seniors.

"While this loss stings, I'm proud of these girls for what they've accomplished this year," Begley said. "We were really hit hard by injuries this year and then had some issues due to Covid as well, but these girls just kept fighting and kept a positive attitude. The way they represented our community and our program defined who they are far more than a scoreboard."

He added that what made this team different was their closeness on and off the court.

"This group has been there for each other and are one of the closest teams I've coached," Begley said. "They will always hold a special place in my heart and for reasons that have nothing to do with the great success they had on the court."


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