The Dalles defeated Pee Wee’s Auto Detail of Hood River, 78-69 in a closely contested game Sunday to win the Gorge Hoops League championship.
The Dalles took the title for the third straight year; the second finals win over Pee Wee’s.
Charlie Petit led The Dalles with 19 and Brian Stevens added 16. Kevin Dale had 10 points.
Pee Wee’s top scorers were Andrew Snyder with 14 and Eric Fauth and Jeff Carver with 13. Shaun Anderson hit three 3s in the second half for a 10-point game, and Mike Kassinger added 10.
Ill-timed turnovers and hot three-point shooting by The Dalles, combined with poor foul shooting, helped seal Pee Wee’s’ fate. In a key stretch of the fourth, Pee Wee’s went to the foul line eight times but converted only two points.
“This was Gorge Hoops’ sixth season and the most competitive yet,” said league commissioner Brian Stevens
He said, “It was disappointing that The Indian Outlaws weren’t whole for their semifinal game.”
The team was missing two of its top players and a third suffered cracked ribs in the first quarter, leading them to have to forfeit at the half, with only four players suited up.
(Pee Wee’s led at the half, 64-38.)
In the final, Pee Wee’s took a 24-14 first-quarter lead. The Dalles gradually whittled the lead to two, and finished the half with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Kevin Dale to take a one-point lead.
At the end of the third quarter Snyder led Pee Wee’s back to a one-point lead. Pee Wee’s played clamping defense in the third, led by three steals each by Fauth and Carver.
The Dalles took over the fourth quarter, outscoring Pee Wee’s by 10, 23-13, behind Branden Young’s 6, Tim Vance’s 7 and Brian Stevens’ 8.
“They’re a good team,” said Pee Wee’s’ Mike Kassinger. “We dominated at first, and let up a little and got into some three trouble. You either live or die by the three, and we died by it. But it was fun. I’d rather play to a good team and lose in a close one.”
“We thought we’d pull away sooner,” Stevens said, “but they just didn’t let it happen. These guys are so good. I’m sympathetic. Those guys are competitive. I know how hard they work.
“As always we’ve proven time and time again it’s a team ball game. We’re 10 deep of guys who can start for anyone.”