The Elma High School boys basketball team ran out of magic one game too soon.
After winning on a last-second shot on Thursday and in overtime on Friday, the Eagles headed into the championship of the Seaside Holiday Tournament on Saturday against Central Linn (Ore.). The two teams were tied at 8 after one quarter and knotted up at 16 at halftime. The Eagles led by three points with four minutes left in the game, but that is where they ran out of mojo, going 1-for-12 from the floor in the final quarter in a 40-33 loss.
“Nothing would fall,” coach Marvin Prince said. “We had some good looks at the hoop and nothing would fall and their shots went when they needed them. It was a back-and-forth battle. We had our chance to take it. We just couldn’t make baskets when we needed to.”
While the championship may not have ended the way the Eagles would have liked, the tournament provided plenty of heroics. Elma (4-2, 2-0) opened up the tournament against Sisters (Ore.) on Thursday. The Eagles traded the lead with the Outlaws twice in the last 20 seconds and with 3.6 seconds left Elma had the ball down by one point. In the timeout, Prince drew up a play for senior guard Rashad Lorton to get a look at the basket and the play ran to perfection as Lorton sprinted to the hoop to make a game-winning layup.
“He just made a great individual play,” Prince said of Lorton.
The next night saw a reversal of the final few seconds as senior Chance Bremer hit a free throw to put the Eagles up by one point over La Pine (Ore.) with 2.6 seconds left. Elma played tough defense and watched as a shot went wide of the basket to give the Eagles the win.
No matter the outcome, Prince said there were positives to be taken from all three games.
“It is always great to be able to win by a sustainable margin, you don’t have the nerves, but yet the growth of winning close games, I think, is far greater. Hopefully it builds that never-say-die attitude and that we always have a chance. From a coaching standpoint, to let them see that it is not over and you can still get a win was huge. It was a great morale booster.”
Bremer was a key factor in all three games, Prince said. The senior forward averaged more than 10 rebounds a game and had scoring efforts of seven, 14 and six points, respectively. Bremer was selected as part of the all-star team for the tournament.
“(Bremer) showed us the way he is capable of playing,” Prince said. “Chance can clean the glass with the best of them. He was just a workhorse.”
Senior Ryan Collin was voted the most valuable player for the tournament for his play over the weekend. Collin averaged 13.3 points a game with 22 points against La Pine.
Senior Tyson Nauman led the Eagles offensively with 11 points against Central Linn.