Looking to earn their first Baker City bid since 2004, the Dufur Rangers fell behind by a lopsided 16-3 score through one quarter and trailed 51-30 after three periods in what was a season-ending 66-49 loss to Prairie City (25-2) in tonight’s state second round boys hoops contest Friday in Prairie City.
“It is never easy playing on the road and when you allow the other team to jump all over you, it is tough to recover,” Dufur coach Hollie Darden said. “Prairie got that early lead and it was pretty much game over.”
Dufur could only muster four first half baskets, two by Daniel Radcliffe and looked up to a 30-16 halftime deficit.
In the second half, Dufur knocked down 13 field goals, four 3-pointers, 3 of 6 from the free throw line.
Trey Darden paced the Rangers with 18 points, and both Radcliffe and Cooper Bales notched nine points each.
Tanner Masterson had seven points, and Derek Frakes and Alex Barrett checked in with three points.
Prairie City hit 29 field goals, three 3-pointers, and converted on 4 of 12 free throws.
Levi Burke scored 26 points, Syd Holman added 12 and Cole Deiter posted 11 points.
The Rangers were behind the eight-ball early with an extended football season and had a learning curve under a new coach.
Dufur started out at 6-5, 0-2 in league play, but then rattled off a streak of seven wins in eight games to climb back into contention.
The Rangers finished 3-3 down the stretch, including a 41-38 victory over Arlington to secure their postseason bid, which began with a 39-31 sub-round road triumph over Joseph.
Next season, Dufur will be without graduated senior, Cole Kortge, Tabor McLaughlin, Abraham Kilby, Frakes, Radcliffe and Masterson, but Trey Darden, Caleb Olson, Jacob Peters, Barrett and Bales make up a solid core.
“This team accomplished a lot this year,” coach Darden said. “It was a good season. The boys showed a lot of growth, determination and effort. We had great seniors, but we have players that we can build around, so that is exciting to me as a coach.”