The season that Stanfield head coach Daniel Sharp said exceeded all expectations came to a heart-breaking end Friday in the consolation semifinals of the OSAA Class 2A boys basketball tournament at the Pendleton Convention Center.
Stanfield dropped its second game of the tournament, 69-62, to Blue Mountain Conference rival Weston-McEwen and bowed out earlier than they hoped.
While Stanfield took a 49-46 lead into the fourth quarter after a Dino Ibarra 3-pointer, Weston-McEwen claimed the lead on a Dallas Reich jump shot that sparked a 13-2 run to seal the ballgame.
During the run, Reich buried a long 3-pointer to give the TigerScots a 57-51 lead and Ron Terjeson completed a 3-point play with a foul shot at the 2:52 mark for a 60-53 advantage.
Sharp said thats about the time the games momentum really shifted and things got away from his club, but prefaced that with his teams never-say-die attitude.
I was just proud with the way the guys competed, Sharp said. They did it with limited size and experience.
Stanfield was forced to foul late in the fourth and hoped Weston-McEwen would missed foul shots, and while the TigerScots were 7 of 13 from the line in the last two minutes, the Tigers couldnt put enough offense together to capitalize.
Stanfields Devin Bailey curled around a screen and cashed in a NBA-range 3-point shot with 35 seconds left to cut the deficit to 67-60, not much offense came afterward.
The Tigers lack of size hurt them more from an offensive standpoint than defensive. For a team that relies on perimeter shooting, Stanfield shot 5 of 24 from 3-point range, but were able to create plays from pure hustle and out-rebound the TigerScots, 44-40.
In fact, Stanfield owned the offensive boards with a 20-6 advantage, further displaying the grit and constant motor the team plays with.
But small only describes the teams overall height, not the amount of heart and determination they possess.
It was a season for Stanfield that was a roller coaster ride from start to finish, and that was something Sharp told the guys at the beginning of the year would happen since they had to integrate a bunch of new guys.
We had our ups and downs early on, Sharp said. We weathered that all season and played hard. We didnt dominate by any means but we were able to win. It was pretty incredible.
While the unquestioned leader of the Tigers, Bailey, scored a game-high 20 points and ripped down a game-high 15 rebounds, he thought that just getting to the tournament was a big accomplishment for the team.
Our locker room is full of heart, thats really all I can tell you, he said. Going to the state tournament three years in a row is definitely a success for our program.
While the senior group of Bailey, Kamm, Ibarra, Eddy Ramos and Hector Hernandez played its last game in Stanfield yellow and blue, Sharp said it has been a fun ride with them.
They are awesome, he said. This group is absolutely incredible. They play ball down at the park, they are respectful and have set a huge precedent for the program.
Stanfield ended the season with an 18-11 record.