WALLOWA — Both Enterprise and Wallowa entered action Tuesday, June 1, in need of a victory.
In the end, it was the hometown Cougars — powered by their seniors — who came away with their first win.
Zeb Hermens scored a game-high 26 points, Tristin Bales added 18, and the Cougars led almost wire-to-wire in a 54-42 win over Enterprise at Wallowa.
“It was nice. it was a good win for us,” head coach Cody Lathrop said. “I think more than anything, it was set up by two seniors. Zeb Hermens and Tristin Bales, they kind of propelled the effort. They shot well, we rebounded even better, so really happy for them.”
Both teams took a similar approach to the game with a high-octane and, at times, frenetic pace.
It served the Cougars better Tuesday, as both Hermens and Bales were able to get to the rim repeatedly and score on an array of layups or short jumpers.
Hermens scored 10 of Wallowa’s first 14 points, including the basket that gave the Cougars the lead for good with his rebound and putback for a 7-5 lead with 2:45 to play in the first. Bales’ 3-point play and Hermens’ layup quickly gave Wallowa a seven-point lead, and the margin was 16-9 after one when Bales scored on a putback.
Hermens’ 3-pointer to open the scoring in the second pushed the margin to 10, but the Outlaws hung around. Gideon Gray’s putback and Jericho Peters’ layup cut the deficit to six, and Enterprise got as close as 22-17 on a pair of Jackson Decker free throws with 3:54 left in the half.
But Wallowa scored the final six points — four from Bales, and two on a late steal and basket from Jace Fisher — for a 30-18 lead at the break.
The teams traded scoring in the third until Hermens scored near the midway point for the team’s largest lead at 41-27, then again at 43-29.
Enterprise had one final salvo, led by Gray, who finished with a team-high 16 points. Gray hit a jumper to trim the deficit to 45-36 after three quarters, then twice scored on putbacks — the second time with 4:38 to play — to make it a five-point game at 45-40.
Bales ended any of Enterprise’s comeback hopes with a wild up-and-under layup, then a fastbreak layup to push the lead back to nine, and Fisher followed with a bucket on the low post for a 51-40 lead with 2:36 to go. Enterprise got no closer than nine the rest of the way.
Gray, who had all Enterprise’s points in the final quarter, was joined in double figures by Decker, who scored 11 points and connected on three 3-pointers.
Fisher added eight points for Wallowa.