The Joseph Eagles lost four straight games this past weekend while participating in the tough Salem Holiday Classic. Sixteen of the top rated 2A basketball teams in the state competed in the Thursday, Friday and Saturday tournament.

JHS Coach Ron Lathrop saw his team's pre-season record fall to 3-4, but was not overly disappointed with the play of his squad.

Joseph lost to Willamina 50-46 Thursday night, to the 4th ranked and twice defending state champion Dayton team Friday afternoon by a 52-41 score, to Myrtle Point 70-64 Friday night and to the highly rated Cascade Christian team 81-72 at noon on Saturday.

JoHi played four games in a span of some 36 hours.

Joseph was in every game, said Lathrop, but made crucial mistakes at the end. He chalked the weekend up as a strong learning experience for his squad.

Lathrop said that his troops played poorly in their loss to Willamina, making a lot of turnovers and the critical mistakes at the end which ultimately handed the win to the Willamina team. Dustin Gibbs and Cole Lathrop scored 12 points each to lead JoHi in their tourney opener.

The Joseph coach described Dayton as a very physical team with a lot of experienced seniors. Joseph was within five points in the fourth quarter, but made costly errors in the final minutes. Lathrop cited Eric Butterfield and Cole Lathrop for playing well in the encounter. Double figure scorers for Joseph in the game were Lathrop with 14, Jake Layton with 12 and Butterfield with 11.

The Eagle offense awoke in the Friday night game against Myrtle Point, but a win was not in the making. Lathrop said again that critical turnovers in the final 1 ? minutes of play kept JHS from winning. Cole Lathrop again had a big game for the Eagles with 21 points. Also scoring well for the Wallowa County squad were Cory Otten with 18 points and Dustin Gibbs with 17 points.

Joseph's final game of the tournament came versus Cascade Christian, the team which knocked JoHi out of the consolation bracket at the state tournament one year ago. With two good guards leading the team Cascade Christian defeated the Eagles 81-72. Lathrop said his players were "running out of gas" in the final game, but got an unexpected boost from freshman Tristan Patten who came off the bench and scored 15 points. Cole Lathrop scored 16 points in the game, Otten and Layton 11 and Butterfield 10.

Joseph's next action on the season will come this Friday and Saturday in the Wallowa Lions Basketball Tournament. The Eagles will be matched against Wallowa in the first round in a tourney including Weston-McEwen and Imbler.

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