The Cougars fall 69-47 to the Prospectors in first round of the 2A state playoffs

The Gervais girls basketball team wrapped up the 2018-19 season on Saturday with a 69-47 loss to the No. 5 Grant Union Prospectors in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.

It was the second trip to the state playoffs in the last three years for the Cougars, but the team was unable to push its way to the quarterfinal tournament in Pendleton due to a potent Grant Union offense combined with the Cougar's difficulty converting shots at the free throw line.

Gervais (18-9, 10-4 Tri-River Conference) advanced to the playoffs in large part due to the team's strong defensive effort. The Cougars gave up just 36.5 points per game this season, and the team clinched its post season berth the week prior by holding the Western Christian Pioneers to just six points in the second half of the Tri-River tournament semifinals.

But the Prospectors (18-5, 11-2 Blue Mountain Conference) boast one of the top five 2A offenses in the state and came out of the gates firing on all cylinders behind a concerted effort from seniors Madison McKrola and Hailie Wright.

Led by six points from McKrola in the opening frame, Grant Union raced out to a 21-11 lead after the first eight minutes of play. Wright took over in the second quarter, scoring four field goals to help put the Cougars behind 40-26 heading into halftime.

Gervais sophomore Araceli Vasquez scored nine of her team-high 13 points in the first half, but the Cougars missed opportunities to keep pace with the Prospectors, going 5-of-14 from the free throw line in the first two quarters.

The Grant Union defense tightened down on Gervais coming out of the break, as the Cougars' only points in the third quarter came off a lone field goal from sophomore Isabel Contreras.

Facing a 52-28 deficit heading into the final period, Gervais unleashed its best offensive effort of the day. Gervais saw contributions from six different players as the team scored 19 points in the final eight minutes. But the Prospectors went 9-of-10 from the free throw line and were able to keep the Cougars at bay to hold on for the win and advance to the 2A State Quarterfinals in Pendleton this week.

Sophomore Mary Davidson matched Vasquez as the only other Gervais player to reach double digits in scoring, netting 11 points in the loss. Teammates Lilly Welburn and Katie Hansen each had six.

Wright led the Prospectors with 18 points, followed by 15 from McKrola. Kaylee Wright (12) and Marissa Smith (10) also scored in double figures for Grant Union.

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