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Hawks eye district title

Horizon Christian’s boys basketball team completed an unbeaten regular season last Friday at Sherman County, and now the Hawks are prepping for this weekend’s Big Sky district tourney.

Top-ranked Horizon (25-0) will play its first district game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hermiston High, against the winner of Thursday’s Sherman-Ione contest.

“We had two primary goals for this year,” Horizon coach Darrin Lingel said. “One was to win the district championship, and No. 2 was to win the state title.

“At the end of our game Friday (a 74-49 road win), we told the kids that our record is zero and zero — we haven’t done anything.”

Girls’ season ends

Horizon Christian completed its girls basketball season Friday with a 50-25 loss at Sherman.

The Hawks finished with a 7-16 season overall record, and a 4-9 Big Sky League mark.

Lingel acknowledged that an unbeaten regular season, including a 14-0 mark in league games, is special and shows commitment by the Hawk players.

“We start our basketball season after the (last) season,” Lingel explained. “These guys play spring ball, they play summer league and fall ball ... Plus, they’re in the gym, working on their conditioning and working on their shooting. The fruits of their labor is a 25-0 regular season.”

Lingel said his players have stayed focused, despite numerous lopsided games, in part because they’re “always trying to get better. If you take a look at our results, we average about a 30-point scoring margin, which is good and bad,” he said.

Good because it shows dominance; bad because there’s a danger that overconfidence may creep into the picture.

“I think there were signs of that lately,” leading scorer Matt Totaro said. “I think we were overconfident going to Sherman.”

Sherman played with vigor early in the game, making 4-of-7 three-pointers to trail 19-17 after the first quarter and staying close through halftime (38-31).

A 13-0 scoring run over the first two and a half minutes of the final period secured the Hawk win.

Totaro helped account for half of Horizon’s scoring output, with a game-high 23 points and seven assists. He also added 12 rebounds and three steals.

“Matt was kind of our go-to guy in the game,” Lingel said. “He came up big for us.”

Totaro had plenty of help, led by Mason Bloomster, who scored 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Lingel is hoping Horizon can continue to play with the same sense of urgency during the postseason as it did during the regular season.

“We have to come out with fire, as if it’s our first game of the season,” he said.

Totaro was equally succinct.

“Now is the time to step up to the plate,” he said. “We have to come back down to earth and really focus … It’s getting really serious.”

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