The Weston-McEwen TigerScots are still in first place in the Columbia Basin Conference boys basketball standings, although they now have some company in the top spot.
The Umatilla Vikings moved into a first-place tie with Weston-McEwen as a result of last Friday's victory over the TigerScots.
The TigerScots (13-4, 7-1) face their most difficult conference road game to date when they visit the Heppner Mustangs Friday. Not only has Heppner traditionally been a difficult spot for visiting teams, the Mustangs are again one of the better teams in the CBC, currently sitting in third place with a 5-3 conference record.
The Mustangs' three conference losses have all come on the road and now Heppner will look to even a few season series as the TigerScots, Vikings and Pilot Rock will each make the trip to Heppner over the next three weeks.
The Mustangs fell to Pilot Rock, 68-51, last Friday, after being outscored 43-27 in the second half in a game which saw the Rockets shoot 45 free throws to 12 for Heppner. The Mustangs held off Culver, 57-52, the following day behind the 14 points and seven rebounds of Brandon Seitz.
The TigerScots rebounded from their first conference loss with a 58-54 come-from-behind victory over Sherman County as T.J. Parrish scored 22 and Zach Johnson added 13 points.
The TigerScots have lived all season by winning the close games, something more difficult on the road than when playing in the friendly confines of Athena.
"Heppner has a lot of tradition going for them," TigerScots coach Scott Pumphrey said. "They have a good team year after year."
The TigerScots won the first meeting, 69-63, holding off a big Mustang rally in the fourth quarter. Parrish hit seven 3-pointers, finishing with 34 points, while Brad Adams scored 24 for Heppner.
The TigerScots host Culver Saturday, a team they defeated 64-53 earlier this season as Parrish scored 28. Weston-McEwen will have to do a better job on Nate Lewis, who scored 30 points for Culver.
The Mustangs (12-6) will travel to Stanfield Saturday, a team fighting for its postseason life, as the Tigers trail fourth-place Pilot Rock by one game.
The Mustangs won the first meeting, 60-51, jumping out to a 35-21 halftime lead. Adams led the way for the Mustangs with 17 points.
The Vikings (17-1, 7-1) will travel to Pilot Rock Friday as the Rockets try to adjust to the loss of Troy Sampson to a season-ending injury suffered in the Heppner game last week. The Vikings broke open a close game with a 19-9 fourth-quarter scoring advantage during the first contest as all five starters scored in double figures.
The Vikings host Sherman County Saturday and coach Tony Villanueva will remind his team they had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to win the first game, 54-47.
The Rockets (10-6, 4-4) travel to Wahtonka Saturday, a place that has been unfriendly to visitors all season. The Eagles are the only team to defeat Umatilla all season and they lost to Weston-McEwen by a single point on their home floor.
The Rockets were victorious in the first meeting, 63-56, thanks to a 21-9 fourth quarter edge. Eric Stelk led the Rockets with 14 points.
Stanfield (7-11, 3-5) begins its week with a trip to Sherman County and the Huskies look to get even with the Tigers, who won the first meeting 71-62 behind Jacob Flemmer's 15 points, one of four Stanfield players to score in double figures.
Weston-Mc 7-1 13-4
Umatilla 7-1 17-1
Heppner 5-3 12-6
Pilot Rock 4-4 10-6
Stanfield 3-5 7-11
Wahtonka 2-6 3-12
Sherman Co. 2-6 7-9
Culver 2-6 6-10