By Gerry Steele
In a game that at times resembled an episode of the old science fiction show "The Twilight Zone," Pine-Eagle and Wallowa battled each other Thursday in the opening round of the District 7-1A boys basketball tournament at Baker High School.
Strange bounces of the basketball, shots that appeared to being going into the basket falling far short, and near rugby-style play by both teams highlighted the game.
Pine-Eagle, which entered play with a 1-17 season record, pulled away in the fourth quarter to upset Wallowa 40-33. The Spartans advance to tonight's semifinal round against Powder Valley at 8:15 p.m.
Baskets by Alex Stiles and Jon Thorn gave Pine-Eagle a 4-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Then, five straight Wallowa points - four from Kody Swifte - gave Wallowa a 5-4 edge at the break.
The Cougars maintained a slim lead through most of the second period before Colter Marks hit a basket with 46.5 seconds left to pull Pine-Eagle at 10-10 at halftime.
Pine-Eagle then used four Thorn free throws and a basket by Stiles to build a 16-12 advantage with 5:16 left in the third quarter.
Again Wallowa battled back behind five points from Swifte and a basket from Spencer Shelton to take a 23-22 lead with 48.5 seconds left in the third quarter.
Pine-Eagle then scored four of the final six points in the quarter to take a 26-25 edge into the final eight minutes.
The Spartans opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back baskets from Stiles and Marks to build their cushion to 30-25.
Wallowa could get no closer than three points - twice - after that.
Stiles led Pine-Eagle with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Thorn added 12 points, and Marks 10 points and nine boards.
Swifte topped Wallowa 18 points and 10 rebounds. Pierce Millar added 11 rebounds.
Co. Marks 5 0-0 10, Stiles 6 2-9 14, Swanson 0 0-1 0, Thorn 2 8-14 12, Walker, Robinette, Hamby 1 0-0 2, McCoy 0 2-2 2, Denig, Cr. Marks. Totals 14 12-27 40.
WALLOWA (33) -
Conrad 1 2-2 4, Hafer, Swifte 8 2-4 18, Millar 3 0-0 6, Wellens 1 1-2 3, Wallace, Shelton 1 0-0 2, Burns, G. Murray, C. Murray 0 0-1 0, C. Hafer. Totals 14 5-9 33.
Pine-Eagle -4 6 16 14 - 40
Wallowa - 5 5 15 8 - 33
Three-point baskets - None. Fouled out - Conrad. Total fouls - Pine-Eagle 15, Wallowa 22. Technicals - none.