Even after beating the Sherman Huskies in last year’s Big Sky league title game, and even after winning the 1A state title, the Horizon Hawks still had a sour taste from losing twice to the Huskies last year — including their only league home loss.
So, given a chance to avenge those defeats Tuesday, the Hawks didn’t just wash the bad taste out, they flushed it away with a fire hose.
Horizon blasted the Huskies 76-46 in Hood River, and did it while playing Sherman’s style of scrambling, fast-paced basketball.
“We wanted this one pretty bad,” said Horizon Christian coach Darrin Lingel. “We were motivated.”
The Hawks were led by sophomore guard Jared Davis, who scored 26 points and added five assists and six steals.
The Huskies simply had no answer for Davis, who spent much of the night slicing through the Sherman defense, forcing steals, taking charges and generally causing havoc.
“That is his game,” Lingel said. “That’s his style.”
Matt Totaro added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks while Jailin Conboy and Riley Brown led the Huskies with 12 points each.
The Huskies quickly found themselves behind by double digits in the opening minutes of the game and then went into halftime staring at a 25-point deficit thanks to the Hawks’ tenacious defense forcing repeated turnovers, leading to easy buckets.
Sherman had a chance to generate some momentum in the third quarter when the Hawks opened the second half by going without a field goal for the first 5:53.
Things had been going in high gear for the Hawks, but once the third quarter started, that turned into the awful grinding noise of the clutch popping out of the gear. The Hawks repeatedly missed easy shots, and had only three free throws to show for points over nearly six minutes.
However, the Huskies could only trim the gap to 16 points before the Hawks got things going. Not only did the Hawks get back in gear, they found the button for the turbo thrusters.
Wes Johnston ended the scoring skid with a put-back lay-in. In the closing seconds of the third quarter Davis came flying down the floor to save a baseball pass from Mason Bloomster, which he managed to shovel to Johnston for a fadeway jumper which dropped in at the third quarter buzzer.
Johnston drove in the dagger with a three to open the scoring in the fourth quarter and the Hawks just kept rolling from there, eventually stretching their lead to as much as 32 points.
The Hawks have now beaten their first three league opponents by a total of 115 points, are 14-0 and ranked No. 2 at the 1A level behind City Christian of Portland.
Even with the trouncing of their league opposition, the Hawks want to keep their gaze steady as they head into the heart of their league schedule.
“Coach always emphasizes a ‘lost by one’ mentality for every game,” Davis said.
The Hawks will get some added firepower with the return of senior post Jake Wells, who missed two-weeks worth of games while on vacation over winter break and only saw action late in the fourth quarter against Sherman.
While the Hawks may have won round 1 in their rematches with the Huskies, they are not going to take them any lighter when they travel to Sherman Feb. 8 for the final game of the regular season.
“We’ll be motivated at their place, too,” Lingel said. “I expect the same result.”
Horizon girls fall: The Hawk girls did not have as much luck as their male counterparts against the Huskies, falling 47-26.
The Hawks kept it close for a quarter, but a 10-0 run by the Huskies to open the second quarter allowed them to get the game in hand and the Hawks got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Katie Tolbert led the Hawks with nine points and seven rebounds.