In many ways, the final eight seconds of Friday’s two-point loss to Gresham characterized the past two weeks for the HRV boys basketball team.
These guys can’t catch a break.
After playing catch-up most of the fourth quarter versus Gresham, HRV finally knotted the score at 63 on a great hustle play by Nate Armerding, who found Eric Nelson under the hoop for an easy two. Then, in a flash, Gresham was right back on top when the clock read double-zeros.
Ever since the Eagles’ improbable home win over state-ranked Central Catholic on Jan. 3, the team has been struggling to find a rhythm. A Jekyll-and-Hyde loss to Sandy; a disappointing home loss to Barlow; a blowout loss at Centennial; now a heart-wrenching buzzer-beater loss to Gresham.
The talent is there. The work ethic is there. What is it that has sent the Eagles from second to seventh in a matter of weeks?
One heck of a conference, that’s what.
Before the season, coach Tom Ames knew that every game in the Mt. Hood Conference would be a dogfight. He knew his team would have to show up to play every night if it expected to be around for state. And excluding the second half of the Sandy loss on Jan. 8 and the first half of the Centennial loss on Jan. 15, the Eagles have been in every game.
The only difference between HRV and Centennial or Barlow right now is the others have made shots when they have had to. Had HRV made two or three jumpers down the stretch against Barlow or Gresham, we’re not talking about a four-game losing streak.
That’s why it’s important for the players, coaches and fans to keep in mind that there are eight conference games left. A 3-5 record can become 9-7 or 10-6 very quickly.
Senior starters Brendon Charles, Armerding and Nelson don’t want to finish their high school careers in disappointment.
They’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure HRV is on the other end of those last-second shots. Better yet, they’re going to ensure that there are no last-second shots.
Eight games left. Nothing to lose. And if this team goes down, you can bet it will be swinging.