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Eagle boys want to end season with strong play

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

February 14, 2007

With the season winding down, the Hood River Valley Eagles boys’ basketball team has been reduced to the role of spoiler as it still searches for its first conference win of the season.

Even following a 70-43 setback at the hands of Centennial and a 95-43 defeat to Central Catholic, Coach Zach Pauls wants his team to make opponents work if they want to beat the Eagles.

“We want to play hard every night and make teams come in here and have to play hard,” he said after the loss to Centennial on Friday.

Against Centennial the Eagles found themselves unable to get any offensive rhythm going, and were unable to make use of their most effective offensive weapon – the three-pointer – as they had a cold shooting night.

Neither team was effective shooting the ball in the first half, but Centennial was able to take a 31-14 lead to the break largely on being able to capitalize off Hood River turnovers.

For large stretches of the first half neither side could find the basket, and both teams went nearly four minutes without scoring late in the half.

Hood River got a brief surge to start the second half to close the gap to 12 points, but that would be as close as they would get the remainder of the game, as Centennial promptly responded with an 8-0 lead and Ryan Mosqueda buried an NBA-range three-pointer to close out the third and give Centennial a commanding 24-point advantage.

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The shooting woes continued for the Eagles in the final quarter as Centennial cruised to the win.

Despite the loss, Pauls was pleased with his team’s overall effort – he would just like to see them put the ball in the basket a little more.

“We gave a heck of an effort,” he said. “We just went into a scoring drought then we turned the ball over and it turned quickly.”

Going into the game Centennial was clinging to the final playoff spot in the conference and needed a win to maintain position, and Coach John Poetsch felt the win gave his team a much-needed boost coming down the stretch.

“We just need to get some wins and get some confidence going,” he said.

Hood River was led by 12 points from Andy Kennedy and 10 points from K.C. Christensen, while Centennial got 17 points from Diallo Gaston and 12 points from Mosqueda.

On Monday night, the Eagles journeyed to Central Catholic to face the conference-leading Rams, a team that had beaten them by 19 in Hood River earlier this season with the Eagles hanging in it for most of the way.

The Rams, locked in a tight battle with David Douglas for the conference title, did not let the Eagles hang around this time as they topped the Eagles 43-points with 55 points in the first half alone, including a 31-point second quarter to take control of the game.

The Eagles were again led by 12 points from Kennedy, while the Rams were led by Jordan Freelander’s 17 points.

Hood River has three games remaining, including home dates this Friday against Barlow and the season finale next Thursday against David Douglas.

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