Playing without leading scorer Brendon Charles, the HRV boys lost to Centennial 76-54 on Tuesday night. Eric Nelson led the way for the Eagles with 24 points, while Nate Armerding contributed seven points and six assists.
HOOD RIVER — Two short weeks ago, the HRV boys basketball team was flying high after beating state-ranked Central Catholic.
But following two straight conference defeats — the most recent, a 56-46 loss to Barlow Friday on their home court — the Eagles have been grounded.
HRV (3-3, 6-8) now sits in a three-way tie with Reynolds and Tuesday night’s opponent, Centennial, for fourth place in the Mt. Hood Conference. A loss at Centennial could put the Eagles in the unenviable position of hoping for other teams to lose just to have a shot at state.
But HRV coach Tom Ames has yet to panic. He knows that the conference race is still wide open, and with 10 games left to play, he believes his troops have the skills needed get the job done.
“Other than missing shots, I felt that we played pretty well (Friday),”Ames said. “I don’t want to take anything away from Barlow because they played a great game.”
The Bruins used a combination of tough interior defense and superior free-throw shooting to clip the Eagles’ wings Friday. But what has become alarming about HRV’s play of late is its lack of consistency, demonstrated by second-half shooting meltdowns against Barlow and at Sandy on Jan. 8.
Despite the unkind iron, HRV played the Bruins tough in each of the first three quarters. When the Eagles’ shots weren’t falling, they stepped up their defense and refused to allow Barlow to make a run.
After starting off slow in the first quarter, the Eagles ramped up their intensity and tied the game 20-20 at halftime. Mitchell Bohn and Jarrod Fogle played furious defense and helped HRV build momentum at the break.
Brendon Charles suddenly caught fire in the third and reeled off seven straight points to put HRV up 27-26. Just as suddenly, the Eagles went cold from the floor and couldn’t buy a bucket, heading into the fourth down 33-29.
That’s when Barlow’s DeShawn Greene took over the game. If he wasn’t dicing into the lane for an easy two, he was setting up Zane Potter or Robert Marcilla. And when Greene wasn’t making his shots in the lane, he made them from the line, finishing with a game-high 17 points.
HRV managed to stay close, and after a Nate Armerding three, was only down three points at 1:45. Greene and Marcilla built the lead back to seven points at 51-44, but at the one-minute mark, Charles found Eric Nelson underneath the hoop for an easy two.
The Eagles made a defensive stop and had a chance to cut the lead to three, but Nelson’s two free throws rimmed off, forcing HRV to foul the rest of the way.
Barlow 56, HRV 46
HRV — Charles 16, Armerding 10, Nelson 8, Bohn 6, Goe 4, Fogle 2, Holmson 0.
Rebounding — 28 (Charles 11);
Steals — 8 (Bohn 3); Assists —10 (Charles 3)