New league, no problem.
Stanfield cruised to a 57-42 road win over Pilot Rock on Friday night to open their first season in the Blue Mountain Conference.
"We came in with a chip on our shoulder and just said 'You know what? We got this,'" said Stanfield senior Elias Esquivel, who led the Tigers with 17 points. "This league is tough, but we can compete. I think we proved that against Pilot Rock tonight."
Stanfield jumped out to a 5-point lead within the first three minutes and never looked back. Esquivel scored a 3 and senior Eduardo Nunez hit three straight baskets to push the lead to 14-3 with 2:13 left in the first quarter. The Tigers ended the quarter with a 23-4 advantage.
"We're not the greatest shooting team, but when the threes fall, they fall," said Tigers coach Devin Bailey. "We let off the gas pedal, though. I would've liked to have seen us lead by more to start."
The Rockets came back to outscore the Tigers 16-8 in the second quarter, with junior Austin Drake adding two shots outside the paint. Stanfield was ahead 31-20 at intermission.
Esquivel added seven more Tigers points in the third. Stanfield senior Fernando Ramirez hit a 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds left in the quarter to leave the Tigers ahead 42-28.
Rockets sophomore Riley Waggoner scored eight points with two 3's in the final quarter, but Tigers junior Rene Sanchez went on a tear with six points in the final two minutes of the game. Sanchez's free throw sealed the Tigers' league win.
"This feels really good. Starting the league with a W is always a great feeling," Bailey said. "Especially against team who's beat us a couple times in the past."
Sanchez, Nunez, and senior Hugo Hernandez followed Esquivel in scoring with nine points each. Waggoner led the Rockets with 11.
"We did awesome," Esquivel said. "Hugo - I've never seen a player come out with so much confidence. The bench gave us so much help, too."
Stanfield (1-0, 4-7) continue league play in a home game against Heppner on Saturday. Pilot Rock (0-1, 1-7) travels to Grant Union.
The Rockets led 5-2 within the first 40 seconds of the game until Tigers junior Nyah Tejada tied things up with a 3-pointer. The two teams battled to stay within one point of each other for the next seven minutes.
Stanfield junior Kendra Hart strung together two straight field goals to give her team an 18-12 lead at the end of the quarter.
Tejada led the Tigers with seven points and an assist in the second. Pilot Rock would come within one point of the Tigers twice, and even managed a brief 28-27 lead when junior Ayana Aguilar hit a bucket with 20 seconds left in the half. But the Tigers rallied back for a 31-28 halftime advantage.
Stanfield went on to top the Rockets 17-11 in the third quarter and 17-10 in the fourth for a 65-49 win.
"We started hitting better shots and transitions," said Tigers coach Daniel Sharp of his team's improved second half. "We played some good defense for about a quarter and a half to spread the gap a little bit."
Tejada led Stanfield with 19 points, and Hart followed with 18. Grace Austin posted 15 points for the Rockets, and Breann Baleztena scored 12.
Stanfield (1-0, 6-5) host Heppner on Saturday. Pilot Rock (0-1, 5-3) will hit the road to Grant Union.