PENDLETON — Though the Blue Mountain Conference has three of the top four ranked boys’ teams in Class 2A basketball now at the end of regular season, one squad has done more than the others to draw the attention of the whole state to Eastern Oregon.
It’s Irrigon Knights’ world, everyone else is just living in it.
Irrigon’s undefeated dominant run has already earned the Knights (24-0, 16-0 BMC) a spot in the state tournament regardless of finish when the dust settles at the BMC District Tournament this weekend in Pendleton. In fact, eight of the ten teams competing at the Pendleton Convention Center will move on to the state rounds.
The league can thank Grant Union for that bump after three teams have been historically state eligible in the past before the Prospectors joined the BMC this school year. And with statewide No. 2 Pilot Rock and No. 4 Grant Union in the bracket on the boys’ side along with three of the top seven girls’ teams in their half, the Blue Mountain Conference is set up to not just populate the state tournament but throw its weight around.
Regular-season champions — Irrigon for the boys and Enterprise for the girls — will sit back and wait for the the opening rounds to wrap up as the Nos. 2 and 3 duke it out for a chance at the crown. The winner of that matchup, from Friday, gets the No. 1 seed with both teams advancing to state from the championship matches played Saturday.
The fourth and fifth seeds will also meet on Friday. These may be the most interesting games of the weekend since the losers here will be the lone tournament teams missing the boat to the next rounds. The winners advance to state, as well as a contest on Saturday with the loser from the Nos. 2 and 3 contest. That’ll just be for state seeding, though.
Here’s a quick look at the teams in this year’s Blue Mountain Conference tournament, according to first-round matchups:
No. 1 Irrigon (24-0, 16-0 BMC; OSAA No. 1)
Saturday’s Game: TBD, 7:30 p.m.
Offense and Defensive Scoring: Irrigon scored a BMC-high 69.8 points per game during the regular season while allowing a league-low 42.4. The Knights’ have the highest scoring offense in Class 2A boys’ basketball ahead of the No. 2 team, conference foe Pilot Rock, by nearly eight full points.
Complete the Sweep: Irrigon edged Union 64-56 on Saturday to finish its regular season without a loss. It was just the Knights’ third win by single digits.
No. 2 Pilot Rock (20-4, 13-3 BMC; OSAA No. 2) vs. No. 3 Grant Union (14-8, 12-4 BMC; OSAA No. 4)
Friday’s Game: 3 p.m.
Season Series: Tied 1-1 with each team winning at home.
Offensive Scoring: Advantage Pilot Rock: the Rockets scored 62 points per game, second in the BMC and the state, to the Prospectors’ 57.7.
Defensive Scoring: Advantage Pilot Rock: the Rockets allowed 44.8 points per game, also No. 2 for the league, to the Prospectors’ 55.5.
Since Last Meeting: Pilot Rock is 4-1 since losing to Grant Union 70-49 on the road on Jan. 25, their only loss in that span coming to No. 1 Irrigon to finish their regular season Friday. The Prospectors are 6-0, including a non-conference win over Class 3A Burns on Tuesday.
No. 4 Stanfield (17-6, 10-6 BMC; OSAA No. 7) vs. No. 5 Weston-McEwen (14-10, 9-7 BMC; OSAA No. 11)
Friday’s Game: 7:30 p.m.
Season Series: Stanfield won both meetings this season by a combined 13 points.
Offensive Scoring: Slight advantage Stanfield: the Tigers scored 59.3 points per game this season to the TigerScots’ 58.8.
Defensive Scoring: Advantage Stanfield: the Tigers allowed 51.6 points per game to the TigerScots’ 51.6.
Since Last Meeting: Stanfield beat Weston-McEwen 50-47 in Athena on Saturday, the final day of the regular season. The TigerScots have lost three in a row overall after a five-game win streak and the Tigers have now won two straight following a three-game skid of their own.
No. 1 Enterprise (20-3, 14-2 BMC; OSAA No. 6)
Saturday’s Game: TBD, 6 p.m.
Offense and Defensive Scoring: Enterprise scored 46.1 points per game during the regular season while allowing a conference-low 32.4 points per game.
Late Season Push: Enterprise won seven of its last eight games to overtake Union, Pilot Rock and Heppner for the league’s top spot, a stretch that included head-to-head wins against the Rockets and Mustangs. The lone loss? At Union on Feb. 2.
No. 2 Union (17-6, 12-4 BMC; OSAA No. 7) vs. No. 3 Pilot Rock (19-5, 12-4; OSAA No. 10)
Friday’s Game: 1 p.m.
Season Series: Union won both meetings this season, each in overtime, by a combined nine points.
Offensive Scoring: Advantage Union: the Bobcats scored 51.8 points per game, tops in the BMC, to the Rockets’ 49.6, second best in conference.
Defensive Scoring: Advantage Pilot Rock: the Rockets allowed 36.4 points per game, second best in the BMCC, to the Bobcats’ 41.7.
Since Last Meeting: Pilot Rock is 4-0 since losing to Union 53-45 on Jan. 26. The Bobcats lost their next game to Weston-McEwen, but are 4-0 since then, including a victory over top-seeded Enterprise at home.
No. 4 Heppner (17-5, 12-4 BMC; OSAA No. 5) vs. No. 5 Weston-McEwen (15-9, 10-7 BMC; OSAA No. 12)
Friday’s Game: 6 p.m.
Season Series: Heppner won both meetings this season by a combined 10 points.
Offensive Scoring: Slight advantage Weston-McEwen: the TigerScots scored 49.1 points per game to the Mustangs’ 48.6.
Defensive Scoring: Advantage Heppner: the Mustangs allowed 39.5 points per game to the TigerScots’ 43.6.
Since Last Meeting: Heppner is 3-1 since beating Weston-McEwen 51-46 in Athena on Jan. 26, its only loss coming to top-seeded Enterprise on the road. That loss put Heppner in a three-way tie for second place in the conference before tie-breakers knocked the Mustangs down to No. 4. Weston-McEwen is also 3-1, losing to just Pilot Rock in Pendleton in that stretch.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at email@example.com or 541-966-0839.