It wasn’t the way that Irrigon drew it up, but they’ll take it.
The top-ranked Knights blew a big lead second-half lead, but held on to down the Stanfield Tigers 67-63 in the regular season finale at Irrigon on senior night.
Dylan Grogan led all scorers with 24 points — including a near-half court shot at the final buzzer — and Anthony Landeros had 21 points. Irrigon seals the top seed in the 2A Columbia Basin Conference district tournament and Stanfield claims the tiebreaker with Heppner with more points scored.
“It still shows we have a lot to work on, things to get better at moving to districts,” Irrigon senior Landeros said after playing in his “emotional” final regular season game in Irrigon.
Disappointment wouldn’t be the right word to use for Irrigon and its win, but satisfied wouldn’t be correct either. Both Landeros and Irrigon (21-1, 10-0) head coach Mitch Thompson were happy to win, but saw more negatives than positives afterward.
“Being able to fight through adversity, staying together mentally (are important),” Thompson said. “ Teams are gonna have run, and (Saturday) was a good example of that. We gotta be able to fight through those runs and weather storms. We can’t ask for the storm to change we gotta be able to change in that storm.”
Basically the entire second half was a storm for the Knights.
After dominating the first to the tune of a 39-22 lead that saw 11 Stanfield turnovers, the Tigers battled back throughout the entirety of the second half. Stanfield outscored Irrigon 41-28, but couldn’t finish off the comeback on the road.
“I thought defensively we weren’t as ... making them do things they didn’t want to do,” Stanfield head coach Daniel Sharp said. “They were 39 or 38 at halftime. That’s a lot. They were just playing well.”
For Stanfield (17-5, 7-3), though, the mood was chipper after a loss.
“We just went out to have fun,” Grogan said. “This game (didn’t) matter. We just wanted to win and have fun.”
Early on, Irrigon was jumping passing lanes and converting those into layups like they’ve done all year. Stanfield, though did lead early on when Grogan’s 2-pointer gave the Tigers an early 6-5 lead. Stanfield again led in the first quarter when Eric Galarza’s jumper went down with two minutes left to give the Tigers a 10-9 lead.
It would be the last time Stanfield was on top.
AJ Timpy hit a 3 then made two free throws on the next possession, then Landeros got two off a turnover to close the 7-0 run that ended the first quarter. But it wouldn’t stop there. Zach Rice hit a 3-ball on the Knights first possession in the second quarter and Landeros followed it with a steal, layup, foul, free throw sequence that gave Irrigon a 22-10 lead. The 13-0 lasted just over two minutes and pushed Stanfield back on its heels.
The margin would fluctuate between ten and as many as 15 until Vera hit a 3-pointer with 1:23 left to end the half with Irrigon up 39-22.
Then the storm began. Sort of.
Grogan had five points in the first minute that bookended a Rice 3-ball. With 4:02, though, Irrigon led by 19, the largest lead of the night. Then, the rain finally started to fall and the winds picked up.
Grogan converted an and-one then got a bucket the next possession to cut the lead to 48-34 with 2:39 on the clock. Tony Flores hit a 3 with 1:42 left to get Stanfield within 11, and after an Irrigon timeout, Ryan Bailey was fouled and made both, getting Stanfield within nine at 48-39. Landeros and Grogan traded baskets to settle the three-quarter count at 50-41.
Irrigon would push the lead back to 12 with the help of a pair of Landeros 3-pointers, then Stanfield embarked on a 6-0 mini-run to get the deficit back to five, the smallest since it was 14-10 at the end of the first period. Minutes later Flores hit his third 3 to pull Stanfield within four at 60-56. It would be the closest Stanfield would get. Irrigon missed just one free throw down the stretch with Stanfield fouling and the Tigers only got one bucket to go in the final minute not counting Grogan’s meaningless heave at the buzzer. “(Stanfield) knocked down shots,” Thompson said. “Dylan Grogan is really, really good. I played with his brother, he might be as good as Sam, who went on the play in college. Daniel Sharp does a great job. They never stopped believing.”
The district tournament starts on Friday, with all the games played at the Pendleton Convention Center.
IRRIGON 67, STANFIELD 63
SHS 10 12 19 22 63
IHS 16 23 11 17 67
Stanfield — L. Moreno 0, R. Bailey 6, J. Carrillo 0, E. Galarza 7, A. Nunez 0, E. Lockwood 2, T. Flores 9, H. Braithwaite 19, D. Grogan 24, T. Monkus 0, A. Montes 0, S. Allan 0, M. Davchevski 5.
Irrigon — X. Rambo 0, A. Romero 11, A. Timpy 5, S. Verley 0, A. Landeros 21, F. Vera 15, R. Reynolds 4, A. Rice 0, H. White 0, Z. Rice 11, O. Romero 0.
3-point field goals — Stanfield 8, Irrigon 7. Free throws — Stanfield 11-14, Irrigon 11-14. Fouls — Stanfield 18, Irrigon 17.
IRRIGON 39, STANFIELD 34 — At Irrigon, a big second half propelled the Lady Knights past the Lady Tigers 39-34 Friday night in both teams’ regular season finale. Jada Burns had 14 points — with 11 coming in that decisive second half — for Irrigon and Bailey Watson had 11 for the Tigers.
Stanfield (9-13, 4-6) led 13-11 after a half of play, but Irrigon (7-13, 2-8) showed new life in the second half. Beatriz Aguilera hit the Lady Knights’ only 3-pointer of the night in that second half and Irrigon got to the foul line 18 times to Stanfield’s 17 in the second half. Irrigon, though, made 12 of its 22 total free throws while Stanfield made just 8-20.
Stanfield finishes tied with for third with Heppner and will play Monday in the district tournament. Irrigon finished in sixth.
IRRIGON 39, STANFIELD 34
SHS 4 9 10 11 34
IHS 4 7 13 15 39
Stanfield — C. Curiel 2, M. Griffin 0, A. O’Neill 0, M. Banderas 0, B. Watson 11, G. Chavez 3, Y. Chavez 6, B. Braithwaite 6, S. Connell 2, c. Hopper 0, N. Esquivel 3.
Irrigon — K. Gilman 2, A. Ayala 2, H. Vera 0, K. McLoughlin 9, T. Davis 4, J. Burns 14, L. Mills 0, D. Roybal 2, B. Aguilera 5, C. Case 1.
3-point field goals — Stanfield 2, Irrigon 1. Free throws — Stanfield 8-20, Irrigon 12-22. Fouls — Stanfield 19, Irrigon 20.