January 4, 2006
In preseason action, the Horizon Christian School boys’ basketball team went 7-1, losing only to Trout Lake in the first tournament of the season. With their first Big Sky district game later this week, the boys are practicing hard and looking to continue their six-game winning streak on the road against South Wasco.
“We’re not going to sneak up on anyone like we did last year,” Coach Ron Haynes said, referring to the Hawks going from four wins to 14 last season. “I think teams expect us to be solid this season.”
This year’s squad is off to one of the best starts the Hawks have ever seen and, according to Haynes, the team looks as sharp as he has seen it in his three years as head coach.
“We are much better top to bottom and we are gaining numbers and players with backgrounds,” said Haynes, who has coached the team all four years.
Consisting of three seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen, and six players over six-feet, this year’s squad is experienced, tall and athletic. According to Haynes, the Hawks have a fairly tall group of boys compared to other teams in the league.
Last season the Hawks graduated only one senior, Brian Stenberg. Returning players Jared Nagreen (senior) and Bobby Cofrances (sophomore) were named to the All-league team at the end of last season. The two have continued their dominating play this year, with Nagreen recently named tournament MVP and Cofrances named to the All-Star team at the recent City Slam basketball tournament. The Hawks went 2-0 to win the tournament.
Haynes’ strategy to help the team improve from last season’s somewhat disappointing first-round district playoff loss is to emphasize defense and rebounding this year.
Averaging about 20 points and 12 boards a game this season is Nagreen, who will likely earn league honors again this season.
When combined with senior Stephen Stenberg leading the floor, Cameroon Root and Cofrances shooting solid from the perimeter, the Olson brothers tough on defense and the rest of the team’s talent, the Hawks look to be one of the top squads in the Big Sky.
According to Haynes, Ione, South Wasco, Dufur and Cascade Locks are all tough contenders in the league, with Ione and South Wasco currently ranked as two of the state’s top 1A/2A teams.
“Districts is our first goal, which is going to be tough,” Haynes said. “But we have a very unselfish group and everyone gets along well.”
Interestingly enough, the team getting along well is quite a feat — not because the kids are troublemakers or scalawags, but because the team consists of four sets of brothers.