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Pendleton's Darian Lindsey scores a basket. (Photo/EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — What one team lacked Tuesday at Pendleton’s Warberg Court, the other had in stockpiles.

The Buckaroo girls’ basketball team was hardly hampered by point guard Lainey Corbett’s quick fouls, pounding a Hood River Valley squad that is still searching for a true ball handler this late in the season.

Pendleton (9-7, 3-0 CRC) remains atop the Columbia River Conference with the league victory, the lone undefeated among the CRC’s four schools. In a mirrored dichotomy, the Eagles (7-9, 0-3 CRC) are still on the hunt for their first league win.

The contest started just like Pendleton’s previous one had ended — that being a blowout over The Dalles Wahtonka on Friday. The Bucks scattered the floor, setting fires around the Eagle dribblers and snatching up turnovers. The scoreboard read 10-0 after only three minutes of play.

But before the end of the quarter, Pendleton’s recent spark, Corbett, was whistled for her second foul. Less than two minutes into the second, she was called for charging for No. 3. With Pendleton up just 14-11 following a run by Hood River Valley, the senior went to the bench.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — In three seasons under head coach Aaron Schmidt, the Pendleton girls’ basketball team has put up a few gems. The examples of excellence have been outweighed, though, during a modest 26-37 record for the Bucks.

But in all those games, Pendleton has never performed the way it did Friday against Columbia River Conference hopeful-power The Dalles Wahtonka. The Bucks dazzled the Eagle Indians with defense in a suffocating 51-28 victory, even holding The Dalles Wahtonka scoreless for the first quarter at Warberg Court in Pendleton.


 
 
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The Bucks' Jake Sierra drives to the hoop. (Photo/EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — Execute and effort.

Two words make up one philosophy for the Pendleton boys’ basketball team. Success comes through executing the game plan and exhausting all effort.

So it was that coach David Norton came about Tuesday’s starting lineup for the Columbia River Conference opener against Hood River Valley. The Bucks have struggled defensively for stretches this year, so Norton tinkered and tweaked, plugging in the players who’ve shown the most defensive intensity in practices and — at times — in live game action.

Whether through design or not, Pendleton produced one of its best defensive efforts of the season, holding the Eagles to just 20 first-half points in a 83-54 victory. Pendleton’s points against averages in the 60s this season and the team was coming off a season second-worst 71 allowed to Lincoln in a loss on Friday.


 
 
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Hermiston's Lucas Wyant shoots a 3-pointer. (EO file photo)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


No team started the season with a distinct advantage over the others on the boys’ side of the Columbia River Conference, with defending champs Pendleton having graduated all five starters and seven players overall. The other three teams all had enough tricks to make things interesting, if not challenge the Bucks for the title.

The expectations were high for Hermiston (2-12) to rebound in coach Adam Strom’s second year at the helm, but the team’s preseason was anything but smooth. Hermiston went more than a month between wins while forging through a series of disciplinary suspensions that sent three key players to the sidelines for a chunk of the season while another was dismissed altogether.

Hermiston went 0-10 while senior forward Alex Ortiz was serving his 10-game suspension for behavior in conflict of the student athlete code of conduct. The adversity had coach Strom reevaluating his season expectations.


 
 
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Zane Schnetzky lays up a ball. (Photo/EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — The first quarter belonged to Quincy George. For all the rest of the game, Joel Boozer was king.

The Pendleton duo combined for 39 points as the Buckaroos took a quick lead against the La Grande Tigers and built on it just as swiftly in a 85-65 victory — a game that was not nearly as close as that score would suggest.

Pendleton (5-6) led 78-43 when it emptied the bench and sent all its varsity talent to the sidelines. La Grande (2-9) won the battle with the junior varsity Buckaroos 22-7 but still suffered the 20-point loss overall. The Tigers had hung with the Bucks in a season-opening loss on Nov. 29, a 68-64 final.

Having lost three straight at the Wilsonville Invitational Tournament over the weekend, the Bucks craved a speedy turnaround upon returning home, George said.


 
 
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Lainey Corbett lays up a ball. (Photo/EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — Pendleton coach Aaron Schmidt didn’t feel like his girls were lacking under the hoop Wednesday. They boxed out, they hustled, they snagged a few rebounds.

But the size and physicality of the La Grande Tigers left their outstretched hands short of the falling basketballs as the Tigers turned away the Buckaroos 56-48 on the strength of a 19-rebound advantage.

Twenty two offensive rebounds led to easy putback buckets from directly below the basket. Each time Pendleton (6-7), which lost its lead on the first possession of the second half and trailed every second forward after taking a 25-23 into intermission, would get within striking distance, the Tigers (7-3) would pull back ahead behind their rebounders.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


1. Behind a pitcher, batter and coach recognized by Class 5A coaches as the best at their level, the Pendleton Buckaroos softball team rolled to its first state softball championship in June.

The Bucks, who finished 23-7 and outscored their five postseason opponents 40-3, beat Silverton 6-1 at the Oregon State Softball Complex in Corvallis on June 2. It was the school’s first state title since the boys’ basketball team won one in 1939.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — After the Pendleton Bucks took a one-point lead on a Lainey Corbett basket at the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Pendleton offense fell silent. For the remaining 120 seconds, the girls’ basketball team scored no points — but was not without good opportunity.

The Bucks missed a pair of under-the-basket open shots and two more free throws in the final 30 seconds of a 40-36 loss to the Southridge Suns (WA) on Tuesday. All four misses came while trailing by only two points.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — A full stadium is no longer in the works, but the Pendleton High School Athletic Renovation Project is still on its way to turning the practice field near the school into a multi-use sports facility after the awarding of two major grants this year.

The Community Sports Development Council presented Pendleton a synthetic turf field to install at the site, a grant worth several hundred thousand dollars. Along with a grant from the Wildhorse Foundation valued at $15,000, Pendleton High has made a dent in the more than $1 million project cost.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — The Pendleton Buckaroos and Clarkston Bantams (WA) were handcuffed together through three quarters a change. Neither boys’ basketball team could create any distance from the other and five points had stood as the largest margin of separation.

But tied 41-41 about half way through the fourth quarter, the Bantams' Kage Sobotta sprung to life, sparking a 10-0 run to help Clarkston pull away for a 53-46 victory Saturday in the final game of the Red Lion Classic in Pendleton.