By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
December 23, 2006
The weather outside may have been icy, but what the Hood River Valley Eagles really needed was some Icy-Hot on Thursday night when having to play three games in three days caught up with the team against Summit High School.
The Eagles hung with the Summit for most of the first half before fatigue and Summit’s physical play in the paint took its toll in a 71-54 defeat.
Big man Sean Evert bashedhis way to 14 points down low for the Storm, while Harlan Porterfield and Alec Botts rained down well-placed three-pointers to kill any momentum Hood River gathered in the second half.
K.C. Christensen led the Eagles with 13 points, but afterwards was clearly tired after battling Evert most of the night.
“I’m a little achy and a little sore,” he said. “The third game in a row takes a toll on your body.”
After being down five points at the end of the first quarter, the Eagles rallied to tie the game at 17-17 midway through the second, and that is when the Storm surged to take control of the game.
With a flurry of steals and three pointers, Summit managed to build a 10-point lead in a matter of minutes and stretched it as far as 15 before a Christensen converted a three point play after being fouled on a tip-in in the final second of the half and trimmed the margin to 38-27.
However, the Eagles could not capitalize on that momentum builder in the second half, as Summit came out strong and continued to impose its will on the Eagles.
In the fourth quarter the Eagles managed to get some momentum going but Summit quickly snuffed it out with several more three-pointers to stretch their lead to 17.
Hood River Coach Zach Pauls felt that his team played surprisingly well for getting on the court for the third straight day, but just could not get any shots to fall.
“I don’t think we could have gotten better shots,” he said. “We just didn’t finish.”
The loss to Summit keeps the Eagles winless on the season after they lost to La Grande 63-39 and Medical Lake 67-59 at the Pendleton Tournament earlier in the week.
The Eagles now get some time to rest up before their next game, Dec. 30 at Stevenson, and Christensen hopes that they will be able to stay with their opponent at all times after more than a week off.
“We played really hard tonight but just minute and a half stretches where we had some let downs and they made (their shots),” he said.
For his part, Pauls was glad to see his team continue to play hard despite getting down big late.
“I think we played extremely well and competed extremely well considering it was our third game in three days,” he said. “We could have just been overwhelmed but we put in a heck of an effort.”