Anyone who follows HRV boys basketball knows that the Eagles are a different team at home than they are on the road.
With only one of their five wins coming away from the friendly confines of HRVHS, the Eagles realize that they can’t let any games slip away on their home court — especially winnable games.
Saturday’s 60-54 loss to Summit was one of those games the Eagles may regret come playoff time. But, at the same time, it may be the motivation they need to get back in the race.
“We didn’t get blown out, but it sure felt like we did,” senior guard Tyler Monzie said. “The Crook County game was a step in the right direction, but the Summit game was a little flat. We won’t let their shooters burn us when we see them again.”
Summit’s pair of senior guards, Matt Hamlin and Ryan Rudloff, gave Monzie and the Eagle backcourt fits all afternoon. Hamlin drained five three-pointers and finished with a game-high 23 points, while Rudloff ran the offense and relentlessly pestered HRV on defense.
“Summit believed they could beat us, and they came in here with a well-executed gameplan,” HRV coach Phil Vesel said. “We knew they had a couple shooters, but they kept finding a seam. We just didn’t rotate quick enough to stop them.”
HRV trailed by five at halftime and by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter. Senior point guard Andy Holmson led a comeback effort in the final four minutes, helping cut the lead to four inside one minute.
But Hamlin’s four free-throws late in the game sealed the victory for the Storm, which improved to 2-2 in the IMC.
“We dug a bit of a hole for ourselves, losing at home,” Vesel said. “But we only have one game this week (Mountain View on Saturday) and one next week (Hermiston on Jan. 28), which should help us iron out some of the mistakes in practice.”
The HRV box score for Saturday had junior post Heath Goin leading the way with 10 points, senior forwards Todd Shypertt and Jarrod Fogle with nine each, Monzie and Holmson with seven each, and Ryan Pratt and Pete Dills with six points apiece.
Saturday’s loss followed one of HRV’s most complete games of the season — a 55-45 win over Crook County on Friday.
A dynamite second-half effort, combined with the Eagles’ ability to stop the Cowboys’ two perimeter threats, made up for a lackluster road trip the previous weekend, and gave HRV its first conference victory.
Goin led the way with 19 points, while Fogle had a season-high 11, and Holmson 10.
“We became the aggressor in the second half and shut down their two best shooters,” Vesel said. “We’ll need that sort of effort every night if we’re going to stay in the playoff race.”