Eagle girls search for momentum in final games

February 18, 2012

With their season winding to a close, the Hood River Valley girls basketball team is trying to find some positive momentum before the playoffs start.

The Eagles played well against Hermiston Tuesday night, but not nearly good enough to beat the hot-shooting Bulldogs.

Anytime the Eagles (9-12, 2-8 CRC) did anything wrong, the Bulldogs (17-5, 10-0 CRC) punished them with a three-pointer. Anytime the Eagles did anything right, the Bulldogs responded with a three-pointer. Or at least that was the way it seemed.

Hermiston connected on 15 triples in the game and routed the Eagles 75-52.

After the game the Eagles had two games left, Friday against The Dalles and Tuesday against Hermiston again, and were fighting to overtake Parkrose to grab the eighth spot in the 5A North region and host a play-in game.

Even if the Eagles drop their final two games, they may pass Parkrose in the 5A rankings anyway. The Broncos have one game left, against No. 6 Liberty on Tuesday, while the Eagles were hosting No. 8-ranked TDW and No. 3-ranked Hermiston. The strength of schedule points gained from those games should allow them to make up the three rankings points separating them from Parkrose to allow HRV to host the Broncos in a play-in game.

But the Eagles are not thinking about the rankings; they just want to find their winning touch again after dropping 10 of their last 12 games.

"We're just looking to get two wins and finish league strong," said forward Logan Bailey.

After getting buried by the Hermiston three-point barrage in the first half, the Eagles did try to get back in it in the second half.

"We actually played pretty well," said HRV coach Tom Ames. "The ugliness was the 10 threes they didn't miss in the first half."

The Eagles, down 18 at halftime, slowly crawled back after trailing by as much as 21 in third quarter.

The Eagles opened the fourth quarter with a 10-4 run to get within 11 points following a Winans lay-up with 3:38 to play.

However nothing went right for the Eagles the rest of the way.

Taylor Smith hit a three-pointer to stop the Eagles from closing the gap and a technical on HRV coach Tom Ames continued the slide.

Hermiston capped an 11-0 run with a another three-pointer by Smith which she hit while stumbling forward and had it bounce high off the rim before falling in.

All told, the Bulldogs outscored the Eagles 15-3 in the final 3:20 to put the game away.

Megan Winans led the Eagles with 13 points; Katie White had 10, Logan Bailey 9 and Danae Burck 8 for the Eagles.

Smith scored the backbreaking points, but by the time she scored all of her six points on two baskets in the fourth quarter, Malloree Moss and Heidi Walchli had already done plenty of damage for the Bulldogs.

Moss scored 27 points and Walchli 19 to pace Hermiston. Of their 48 combined points, 27 came via three-pointers.

Moss singlehandedly stripped the Eagles of any momentum in the closing minutes of the first half.

A Katie White three cut the lead to 11 with two minutes to play, but Moss answered with a three-pointer of her own.

Bailey hit a three to bring the Eagles within 15 with less than a minute to play, but Moss came up with another dagger when she drilled a fadeaway three pointer at the buzzer to build the 18 point halftime margin.

While the Eagles cut down on the turnovers against Hermiston, Burck said they will need to continue doing it down the stretch.

"We've got to control the ball," she said.

The Eagles did see some encouraging signs against Hermiston, they did control the ball better, they played with more energy in the second half, and they got a distributed scoring effort.

However, it was not enough on a night where the Bulldogs were shooting the lights out.

"We got rained on," said Ames. "It was raining threes."

The HRV JV?team lost 52-29.

At Hermiston the HRV?boys varsity team fell 51-40 to the Bulldogs.

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