NORTH POWDER – The Arlington/Ione Cardinals boys basketball team defeated the Umpqua Valley Christian Monarchs 57-53 to open the 1A State Basketball tournament on Monday.
It was a close contest but Arlington / Ione held on for the win.
Playing in the small gymnasium at Powder Valley High School, the Cardinals rebounded well and gave Umpqua Valley limited opportunities offensively.
Umpqua Valley Christian suited up seven seniors and played with intensity. Located near Roseburg, the Monarchs have had a strong year in the Skyline League and had won seven-straight coming into the State Tournament.
But the Cardinals handled the pressure and got strong guard play from sophomore Carson Eynetich, who had 14 points and Jaiden Rudolf who had a game high 21 points and 7 assists.
Drawing defenders, Eynetich and Rudolf found their teammates for easy transition buckets.
Monarch center Dominick Butler kept the Monarchs in the game and was dominant early. Butler won rebounds and stepped out to shoot the 3-point shot with precision. A 3-pointer by Butler tied the score 40-40 with six-minutes to play in the game and the Monarchs had momentum. But that changed quickly after Butler fouled out with 16 points.
Moving inside, the Cardinals capitalized and got strong play from Rudolf, Jace Troutman, Taylor Rollins, Bryce Rollins and Gary Walls down the stretch. Walls finished with a game-high 9 rebounds. Arlington / Ione outrebounded Umpqua Valley 36-22.
With time winding down, Arlington / Ione made foul shots and put the Monarchs away. As temperatures inside the gym and outside climbed higher, the Cardinals escaped with the victory.
Up next, Arlington / Ione will play the winner of Adrian / Damascus Christian.