WALLOWA The Wallowa Cougar boys basketball team ended its regular season on a whimper Friday night, losing at home by a 48-24 score to the 11th rated 1A team in the state, the Imbler Panthers.
Imbler (16-3) and Powder Valley (20-2 and rated 4th in the state) are co-champions of the 1A Old Oregon League, each with 9-1 records.
Wallowa (7-15, 4-6 league) now heads into district tournament action Thursday afternoon, Feb. 14, when the Cougars will square off at 2:30 p.m. in Baker City against the Pine Eagle Spartans.
WHS shot a paltry 20 percent from the floor against Imbler, converting 9 of 45 casts; recorded four steals against 29 turnovers; and of the squads low total-rebound count of 22, only 8 were at the offensive end.
Senior Pierce Millar, playing his final home game, grabbed one/half of the teams offensive boards and tied fellow senior Wes Conrad with 6 retrieves as the squads top rebounders.
One of few bright lights for the Cougars was the play of the shortest player on the WHS roster, 56 sophomore Karl Wellens. Receiving a rare start, Wellens hit all three of his field goal attempts and scored 6 points.
Wallowa scored the first four points of the game, but its lead was short-lived.
Imbler maintained a stiff man-to-man defense that, for much of the fray, kept Cougar players with the basketball a long distance from the hoop.
Imbler was led by 67 senior Riley Kretschmerboth offensively and defensivelyand by junior guard Kyle Johnson who dogged Wallowas top scorer, Wes Conrad, much of the night.
Conrad led all WHS scorers with 7 points, well below his season average.
During the season, the Cougars won both encounters played against the team they will face Thursday: Pine-Eagle. WHS won by scores of 55-34 and 65-46.