PENDLETON - Top-seeded Enterprise kept its state championship dream alive - but barely - with a 59-57 quarterfinal victory over No. 5 Weston-McEwen on Wednesday.
After trailing for nearly 28 minutes, Jared Micka put Enterprise up 45-44. What eventually cost Weston-McEwen the game was typically a TigerScots forte - free throws.
Weston-McEwen shot 6-for-16 from the foul line, deviating from its 74 percent free throw average for the season. Kyle Stangel and Marcus Lynn sank four Enterprise three throws in the final 20 seconds to seal the win.
"Coach said that we have the team to take it to the next level," said Lynn, who posted 16 points. "We had the mentality that we beat them before and could handle being down most the game."
Having defeated Weston-McEwen for the Blue Mountain Conference district title Feb. 19, Enterprise claimed its third-straight win over the TigerScots. Each side committed 16 turnovers, but the Outlaws executed in clutch moments.
Weston-McEwen gave up four offensive rebounds in the final two minutes, outhustled by an Enterprise squad with eight seniors. The TigerScots' six seniors watched as their state title hopes slipped away.
"I've been thinking of winning a state championship since I was a little kid," said Weston-McEwen senior Aaron Speed. "That's the hardest part about it."
Speed scored seven points while teammate Tyler Babb had a game-high 17. Dallas Reich added 16 points and Miles Thul scored 13 after going for 24 against Enterprise in the district championship.
Enterprise shot 41 percent from the field, led by Lynn's 16 points and 13 from?Jared Micka, plus 12 from his brother Tyler. The Outlaws shot 38 percent form the field and Weston-McEwen hit at a 41 clip.
Neither team left the court without a possibility of making school history. Weston-McEwen's all-time best state placing was sixth in 1997, which the TigerScots can match or better with a fourth-place trophy this year. Enterprise last placed in 1993 in third, and will vie for a chance to bring home its second state title.
Weston-McEwen's consolation semifinal will be at 9 a.m. Thursday versus the loser of the No. 2 North Douglas/No. 3 Western Mennonite contest. Enterprise will play its semifinal at 3:15 p.m. on Friday against the winner of that game.