UMATILLA - Austin Harvey had eight of Umatilla's 28 rebounds in the championship game of the Umatilla Invitational, but none was bigger than the one that iced a 53-50 girls basketball win over Union Saturday.
With the Vikings leading 51-50, Jasmine Campos missed a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left, but Harvey corralled the rebound, gave an assist to Bertha Ruiz who ended the scoring with a jump shot.
"I was pretty scared at the end, because we were fouling and I don't like close games," Harvey said. "I think it made us all realize that we all need to come out strong and be aware that we don't want to get into close games."
Umatilla had a 19-18 advantage after the first period, led 32-22 at halftime, but Union responded in the third.
Union led 18-14 after Lena Weitlauf sank a basket and a free throw, but Campos answered the call, hitting a shot with 27 seconds left and following a Union miss, connected on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Umatilla built the biggest margin of the game when the Bobcats missed their final three shots of the half and Meghan Dahlin closed the half with a basket for the Vikings.
The Vikings scored only six points against a tough defense in the third period and tournament all-star Kallin Prince tied the game at 38 with a 3-point shot to end the quarter.
"I was real proud of how we played in the second half. I was a little disappointed in the first half," Union coach Wayne Herron said.
"We knew we were playing a quality team. You always hate to lose, but you can't be too discouraged with what I saw in the second half."
Union's biggest lead of the game was 45-42 when Prince grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the putback. A Viking turnover gave Union a chance to stretch the lead, but they missed a pair of shots on that possession.
After a Union timeout with 3:01 to go, Umatilla was unable to inbound the ball under its own basket, but Union also had a turnover before it was able to take a shot. With 1:27 left, Union again forced a turnover on an inbound pass by Umatilla, leading to a pair of free throws by Shannon Mitchell to tie the game at 50.
"We have to hang our hat on our defense, because as far as height is concerned, we don't have any. We have to be able to rebound and we have to put (on) defensive pressure and we did both in the second half, Herron said."
Herron praised his two tournament all-stars, Weitlauf and Prince, as well as Sandra Meredith Mitchell, who came off the Bobcat bench.
Dauna Borden was fouled with 45 seconds to play and hit the first of two charity attempts and gave the Vikings a 51-50 lead. Union missed its next shot and put Campos at the line.
Umatilla coach Wendell Kreder was stressed a bit by the play of his team.
"I don't think they want me to live to be 32 (years old)," Kreder said. "I was real proud of the girls to be able to come back in the third quarter. We sure made it exciting, I guess."
Harvey didn't score, but joined Borden on the all-tournament team for her other contributions.
"I really felt that her defensive and rebounding effort was the difference tonight," Kreder said of Harvey.
Prince led all scorers with 17 points, with Weitlauf adding 13 for Union. Campos had 16, Katie Henry 10 and Borden nine for the Vikings.
"It's a good learning experience for us. It's really the first time this year we've gone into the last couple of minutes and not known who was going to win. We need those kind of experiences to know how we are going to respond," Kreder said.