The Pendleton Buckaroos made things interesting in the final minutes, but the HRV girls basketball team was able to turn away the challenge and hold on for a 49-45 win Friday night at Vannet Court.
The Eagles led by as much as 15 in the third quarter but Pendleton trimmed it down to two when Gabrielle Heehn hit a pair of technical foul shots with 2:04 to play.
Meagan Winans carried the Eagles over the final four minutes of play, hitting four key free throws and grabbing several big rebounds.
"I've been working pretty hard," Winans said. "I've had some opportunities and wanted to show (coach Tom Ames) I could do it."
She also held on to a rebound with a Pendleton player draped over her back with 2:04 left. That led to HRV coach Tom Ames arguing that Winans was fouled, which in turn led to Ames being given a technical foul.
Instead of HRV getting possession of the jump ball, the Buckaroos got a pair of free throws from Heehn and then possession of the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead.
Instead Rayne Spencer was called for an offensive foul on the possession, HRV got the ball back and wound up getting a lay-in from Bryant to make it a two-possession game.
After Heehn hit two more shots, Winans grabbed another of her six rebounds and got the ball to Emily Ing, who was fouled and hit both free throws with 45 seconds left.
Angie Titus would later add two more free throws to put the game away.
The Eagles trailed 14-12 after the first quarter, but held Pendleton to four points in the second as they used a 14-4 spurt to take an eight-point lead to the break.
They would expand on that lead early in the third quarter before Pendleton began to claw its way back.
By the end of the third the deficit was again back to eight points following back-to-back three-pointers by Andrea Hellstrand.
"They always get hot at some point and you just don't know when it will happen," Ames said of the Buckaroos.
The HRV lead continued to deteriorate to start the fourth until the Eagles rallied to stem the tide.
"It never should have gotten that close," Ames said, adding with a grimace: "It was the coach's fault for picking a bad time to get a technical."
However, the Eagles hit 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to keep their lead. The Eagles have struggled from the free-throw line this season, but their sharp shooting from the charity stripe made up for the fact that they hit only one field goal - Bryant's lay-up, in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles' effort from the line was led by Winans, who scored seven of her nine points overall from the line while attempting eight foul shots.
"That's one thing I've really been working on," Winans said.
The win pushed the Eagles one game up on The Dalles and in all likelihood the second spot in the league standings will come to the final game Friday in Hood River.
"That game against The Dalles is big," Winans said. "We've just got to do it."
• At Pendleton, the HRV boys fell 76-53.