No one on the HRV boys basketball team figured that a move to the Intermountain Conference would be easy.
But, after losing five of six games to start conference play — including Tuesday night’s 49-33 home loss to Hermiston — the Eagles are beginning to wonder why this season so filled with optimism has become such a struggle.
“We are not achieving our season goals right now,” head coach Phil Vesel said. “I am getting used to the poor shooting, but when we stop working hard, like we did at the end of the first quarter and into the second quarter on Tuesday, it’s frustrating.”
HRV fell behind 8-0 early, but rebounded to narrow the gap to 11-6 by the end of the first quarter. That’s when the real IMC initiation began.
Senior Jake Burns led the Bulldogs on an 18-1 run to start the second quarter, and Hermiston never looked back.
“When our shots don’t fall, we quit doing the little things and become individuals out there,” Vesel said. “I will say I’m proud of the second-half effort, though. Even though our shots wouldn’t fall, we continued to battle on both sides of the court.”
The Eagles trimmed the lead to 14 by the end of three, and pulled to within 12 early in the fourth quarter. But in the end, Burns (19 points) and John Barnett (11 points) were too hot to handle, helping Hermiston improve to 4-2 in the IMC. HRV dropped to 1-5.
Senior guard Andy Holmson led the Eagles with 13 points, followed by junior post Heath Goin (8), senior guard Tyler Monzie (6), senior post Ryan Pratt (4) and senior forward Todd Shypertt (2).
Also of note, Goin led the Eagles with 13 rebounds, and Pratt amassed a single-game team record of 20 hustle points.
HRV’s next game is tonight at second-place Pendleton (4-1 IMC). Game time is 7 p.m.