Photo by Ben Mitchell
THE EAGLES were out for revenge against the La Salle Falcons, who prevented HRV from making the playoffs last year with a come-from-behind in a 5A play-in game held in Hood River in early March. Despite hanging with La Salle for the majority of Tuesday’s game, the Falcons were able to pull away in the third quarter and despite a rally from HRV, the Eagles fell short. Zak Ellsworth (No. 40), who hit some key three-pointers in the game, drains one from behind the arc in the first quarter.
HRV had an axe to grind in Tuesday night’s game with the La Salle Falcons, who drove a dagger into the Eagles’ collective hearts last year when the Falcons came from behind to steal a win from HRV that would have sent the team to the post-season for the first time in 20 years.
Once again, La Salle (1-1) overcame a deficit — albeit at the end of the second quarter instead of the fourth — to grab another victory on HRV’s (1-2) own hardwood, defeating the Eagles 64-56.
Both teams may have looked a little different from last year’s roster, but the memory of last season’s play-in game defeat at the hands of La Salle was present in the minds of the Eagles athletes.
“It was definitely a motivator for us. We kind of used it and talked about it Monday at practice,” said HRV Head Coach Steve Noteboom. “They have a new coach and have about five seniors that competed heavily. So it was a little different of a team.”
The Eagles were able to hang with La Salle throughout the first half as the two teams traded baskets, with neither team gaining much of an advantage over the other. Senior Zak Ellsworth came up with some “big three-point shots,” Noteboom said, but they were neutralized thanks to equally competent shooting from LaSalle. After two quarters, the score was 33-32, La Salle.
Things began to unravel in the third quarter, when Noteboom made the decision to switch to a zone defense as La Salle “had more size then we did and we struggled with that a little bit.” However, Noteboom said the switch to zone “backfired, because we lost some of our edge,” as the Falcons proved themselves to be capable perimeter shooters, with La Salle hitting three shots behind the arc in the third. On the other side of the court, HRV had only seven shot attempts in the same quarter, while turning the ball over six times.
Down by double digits, the Eagles gained some ground back after reverting to a man-to-man scheme, but couldn’t close the gap quickly enough and were hampered by “a couple costly turnovers down the stretch,” Noteboom said, adding that “defensively, I thought they got to the basket too easily.”
Still, HRV had a respectable shooting night, going just under 40 percent from the field, hitting 19 of 48 shots. The Eagles also sunk seven of their 23 attempts from behind the arc and went six for nine at the foul line.
Parker Kennedy led in scoring and rebounds with 23 points and five boards and tied Noah Noteboom for a team-high five assists. Ellsworth and Tyrone Stintzi also cracked the double-digit mark in scoring with 11 and 10 points, respectively. On defense, Skyler Hawkins led with three steals, and Noteboom complimented the play of 6-foot-2-inch senior Sam Fults, who “did a good job coming off the bench to neutralize (the Falcons’ size).”
The Eagles were scheduled to have their first road game of the season this Friday against the Putnam Knights (results not available at press time) and then return home Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game against Gresham.