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Eagle boys’ hoops ready to rebuild for next season

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

March 17, 2007

It was a rough season for the Hood River Valley High School boys’ basketball team. The team finished its first season back in the Mount Hood Conference 1-23 overall and 0-14 in conference.

Now that everyone’s record is back to 0-0, Coach Zach Pauls is ready to start planning the team’s approach to next year.

He spent last weekend at the state championship tournament in Eugene, seeing what the state’s top teams do well and how his team can improve going into next year.

The team had two players, K.C. Christensen and Jon Ing, named as honorable mentions to the all-league team. The only problem with those awards is that both are graduating seniors, leaving Pauls some important holes to fill for next season.

The coach, who did not come to Hood River until midway through last summer, has scheduled as many games as he can for the team in summer league, a team camp and several tournaments.

Until the team takes the court as a unit again he knows what he wants his players to be working on.

He noted that the team often had open shots last season, but failed to consistently make them.

“We need to shoot the ball thousands of times for each player,” he said. “I’m a big guy on repetition.”

He also wants to ramp up the team’s defensive intensity, a trait that he saw among many of the teams at the state tournament.

“Every team at the state tournament played suffocating defense,” he said. “That is the thing you see in the top teams is a great defensive ability.”

To fill the scoring gaps left by the departure of Ing and Christensen, Pauls is expecting Shay Huskey, Adam Williams and Andy Kennedy to step up and take the bulk of the scoring load.

He is not expecting whoever takes Christensen’s spot at center to be the team’s leading scorer, but would like the starter to be able to hang with the top centers in the league for much of a game.

There might also be some surprises in Paul’s lineup next season. He would like to find a way to use Travis Carrat, whom he calls “the best pure athlete” on the team, more.

While he works to put last season behind them, Pauls is excited to see how the team develops over the summer, while everyone in the league, regardless of their record last season, is undefeated.

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