A year ago, Ione was one of two Big Sky Conference teams to defeat Horizon Christian School in boys basketball. The Hawks made sure history didn’t repeat itself Friday.
Top-ranked Horizon made six of its first nine shots from the field, posting a 13-0 lead in front of Ione’s quickly subdued home crowd. That proved to be the predicator of things to come, as the Hawks ran away with a 92-53 win.
“Last year we lost to these guys, so it was motivation for our team to come back this year and play them again here,” Horizon coach Darrin Lingel said. “It’s a hard place to play … It’s known throughout the Big Sky as a tough place to play, kind of like Cascade Locks was years ago.”
“We came out and played hard; stayed focused. The kids passed well, and in transition they played well. The little things matter as we get into bigger games and play better teams. Overall I thought we did great.”
The margin remained 13 points early in the second quarter, before a 10-0 Horizon burst gave the Hawks control before halftime.
A 14-0 run midway through the third period put the game out of reach. Horizon led 52-29 at the 5:10 mark of the quarter when a Micah Engel steal led to a Mason Bloomster basket. The Hawks were off to the races: Engel deflected the ball and scored, then followed that with a 3-pointer. Matt Totaro added two baskets and a free throw, and Jake Wells capped the spurt with two free throws of his own.
“There was a two- or three-minute stretch there in the third quarter that we played probably our best basketball I’ve seen,” Lingel said. “We rolled off about 14 points in about two or three minutes; it was pretty impressive. That got (Ione) totally out of their game.”
Four Horizon players scored in double figures, led by Jared Davis’ 20 points (on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the three-point line).
“Jared Davis had a breakout game, finally,” Lingel said. “He was struggling with his shot. He has been helping us in a lot of other areas lately, but it was nice to see him shoot well again.
“We did a really good job of passing the ball,” Lingel added. “Our emphasis going into the game was to take advantage of our size. We did that. And then it was that two-minute stretch, when our outside game really got hot.”
The 6-foot-5 Totaro scored 19 points and 13 rebounds, the 6-foot-7 Jake Wells added 17 and 12, and 6-foot-3 Mason Bloomster scored 14 points. Engel had seven assists.
The Hawks out rebounded Ione 45-27 and forced 27 turnovers.
Horizon (20-0 overall, 9-0 league) was scheduled to play Dufur in Hood River on Tuesday (results unavailable at press time). The Hawks host South Wasco on Friday and travel to play at Griswold in Helix on Saturday.
Lingel said his team needs to stay sharp as it prepares for postseason play.
“The emphasis in the second half (of league play) — we have five regular season games remaining — is not being flat,” he said. “Some of these teams, of course, we’ve played already and we’ve blown them out.
“We don’t want to be flat. We want to come out and work on the little things. I think that's the emphasis, not being flat and to push hard against being flat. We want to stay focused, stay determined. To do the little things that we are still struggling to do. That’s our emphasis going forward — not being flat and not getting complacent.”
The Horizon coach said there is danger around every corner in the competitive Big Sky, which has six teams ranked among the top 22 teams in the state.
“You never know,” he said. “If we have a bad night, and (our opponent) has a really good night, then it’s a dog fight. We don’t want dog fights.
“Our mentality throughout the course of this whole year is to always have a lose-by-one mentality. Whether we win by five or by 10 or it’s a blowout by 30, we try to keep that lost-by-one mentality.”
Hawks girls can’t keep pace with Cardinals
The Ione Cardinals raced to a 13-0 lead and never looked back in defeating visiting Horizon Christian School, 58-27, in a Big Sky Conference girls basketball game Friday.
Horizon out rebounded the Cardinals on the night, but the Hawks couldn’t overcome 27 percent shooting and 34 turnovers.
Sophomore Trista Hicks led Horizon in scoring with 11 points. Freshman Marlie Bloomster had 11 rebounds and three blocks for the Hawks.
Horizon was scheduled to play Dufur in Hood River on Tuesday (results unavailable at press time). The Hawks host South Wasco on Friday and travel to play at Griswold in Helix on Saturday.