January 28, 2006
The Hermiston Bulldogs varsity boys’ basketball team is tied for first place in the Intermountain Conference with an 8-1 record. Their only loss came at Mountain View High School, and Mountain View (also 8-1 in the IMC) picked up its only loss at Hermiston.
The Bulldogs traveled to Hood River Wednesday to take on the Eagles, who have the same league record as Hermiston only in the reverse order (1-8). Although Wednesday’s 62-56 loss brings the Eagles to a six-game losing streak, the game was a high point in the team’s season because they competed well, hustled as hard as they have all season, took good care of the ball, refused to give up and gave the league’s top team a genuine run for their money.
After being outscored 16-9 in the first quarter, the Eagles sparked a comeback in the second to outscore Hermiston 18 points to 8, taking a three-point lead at halftime.
“Halftime was bittersweet,” Coach Phil Vesel said. “The kids were a little disappointed because we felt like we should have been up by a lot more at half time. We outplayed them but we didn’t shoot that well.”
The Eagles’ game play against Hermiston was to attack them, pressure hard, and force them to make plays. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs came up with some big plays when they were forced into them. They shot almost 50 percent from the inside the three and almost 90 percent form charity stripe.
Fresh out of the locker room, Hermiston came up with a couple of big plays and a three-pointer to diminish Hood River’s lead. The third quarter would prove to be the Eagles’ demise, as Hermiston outscored them by nine points. The teams matched each other 15-15 in the fourth.
“The kids gave a great effort, they worked hard the entire game and we felt good about our effort when the game was over,” Vesel said. “We didn’t stop competing and I’m proud of the guys for that … It was good for us because we’ve been struggling a bit and we came out and played one of the best teams in the league down to the wire. We showed we can compete. The next step now is learning how to make plays down the stretch to walk away with the win in close games like that.”
The boys had a chance to take that next step on Friday when they hosted Bend High School. Next week they host The Dalles-Wahtonka on Wednesday, Feb. 1; frosh/JV starts at 5:15 p.m., varsity at 7 p.m.
KC Christensen — 24 points, 7/8 from the line, 10 boards
Jon Ing — 10 points, 4/5 from the field
Juan Zuniga — 8 points
Tim Chance — 6 points, 9 boards