A depleted Wallowa Cougar boys’ basketball team gave the Joseph Eagles all they could handle on Jan. 23 coming up on the short end of a 48-59 score.
Cougar starting point guard Ryan Hafer got sick in the locker room during the third quarter of the girls game. The Cougars were also without starting guard Chance Goebel who was still nursing a sprained ankle.
Starting post Wyatt Prince was only about 70 percent as he had just come to school on game day from being out sick for a couple of days. That forced Coach David Howe to scramble to come up with a starting rotation. The Cougars started two freshmen, Mason Moore and Tristin Bales, one a first-year player and a senior (Bales) and the other a junior.
“Although my senior and junior are pretty good players,” said Howe.
Christopher Nobles led the scoring with 14, followed by Sam Hilliard with 12 and Wyatt Prince with 11.
“Junior Zane Mallory played some good minutes and got a couple of big baskets for us and Freddy DeVore, another freshman, filled his roll,” Howe said.
The Cougars traveled to Helix Jan. 24 to take on the Grizzlies of Griswold. The Cougars started out slow in a very physical and brutal game but came out on top 49-36 of a very improved Griswold squad. Sam Hilliard went off for 28 points.
The Cougars hosted the Spartans from Pine Eagle Jan. 25, again coming out on top 54-37. Apparently Hilliard enjoyed scoring so much on Friday that he repeated his performance with 34 points against the Spartans.
He was followed by Christopher Nobles with nine points.
Wallowa faced Cove Feb. 3. Previous games with Cove and have been close with Cove coming out on top.
This game was close for most of the contest. Wallowa threatened to blow the game open several times, but Cove battled back. Cove tied the game at 30 going into the 4th quarter; however, the Cougars outscored the Leopards 10-7 in the final quarter preserving a 40-37 win.
“We didn’t play very well, we committed 28 turnovers, several were unforced,” Howe said. “To our credit, we stayed in there and fought until the end to preserve the win.”
Leading scorers for Wallowa were Nobles 13, Bales 13, and Hilliard 12.
The Cougars will be in action again on Friday at home versus Echo. The Friday night game will be senior night and the “blackout” game.
The action brought Wallowa to 11-10 overall and 6-6 in league.
“The players continue to work hard in practice and continue to improve every time we play,” Howe said. “Our players are starting to believe, so we could be a tough out by the time districts roll around in a couple of weeks.”
The Wallowa varisty girls team lost to Cove, 38-48 and stand at 5-16 overall and 3-9 in league play.