All Phil Vesel wanted from his team last Saturday at Pendleton was something he has yet to see this season: four quarters of good, solid effort.
The first-year head coach thought that if the Eagles could just give him the effort he expected, they may be able to sneak up on the playoff-bound Buckaroos.
One out of two ain’t bad, right?
Pendleton went on to win the game, 66-55, but Vesel also saw his Eagles pour their hearts out for 32 minutes and restore some pride after a 1-6 start in the IMC.
“Saturday was the first time all year that we competed for all four quarters,” Vesel said. “We were in the game right down to the end, but made a few mistakes late.”
Vesel said that his team has turned the corner with its understanding of how to win games. The next step will be to get back in the win column after a four-game slide.
“I think we’ll get Bend on our home court,” Vesel said, referring to Friday’s home match-up with the Lava Bears — a team the Eagles beat back on Dec. 28, but lost to on Jan. 11.
“They’re going to come in here thinking it will be easy, but I can tell you that none of our guys are going to let them waltz in here and take it away,” he said.
HRV also faces first-place Redmond this weekend (Saturday at 2:45 p.m.), so a win over Bend is almost imperative.
“We’re feeling a lot better about ourselves despite the loss to Pendleton,” senior guard Andy Holmson said. “Bend thinks they have us figured out, but we’re not going to give up on the season.”
Holmson was named Hustle Player of the Week for the third time this season with 26 hustle points. Senior Ryan Pratt had 24.