Photo by Ben Mitchell
Marlie Bloomster, who had a double-double Monday night with 15 points and 15 boards, looks to avoid a double-team by St. Helens.
As of Thursday, December 24, 2015
By BEN MITCHELL and MIKE WEBER
News staff writers
The Eagles girls basketball team had an unusually compressed schedule this week, playing in the team’s only non-tournament back-to-back this season, with a game at home against St. Helens on Monday, then another in Woodburn Tuesday night. The HRV girls continued to improve elements of their game, but the wins still proved elusive, with the Eagles dropping both games to go 1-7 heading into the holiday break.
St. Helens 64, at HRV 53
On Monday, the Eagles had their best game on offense all season, putting up 53 points against the St. Helens Lions, but numerous turnovers (35) gave the Lions (4-5) plenty of scoring opportunities, who put up 64 points against HRV — the second-most points allowed for the Eagles this season.
Marlie Bloomster, a senior wing who has been HRV’s lead scorer in almost every game this season, was pleased the direction the Eagles were heading, despite losing another game. Bloomster had a monster game, grabbing a double-double with a team-high 15 points and 15 rebounds.
“We’ve improved a lot recently with our teamwork and team chemistry, while getting more players involved in the offense,” she said. “Our defense has improved a lot too and I think our team is constantly improving… I’m looking forward to seeing our team continue to improve and I’m excited about our upcoming league season as well. I believe we have a good chance to do pretty well in our league this year.”
Other top scorers for HRV included Abby Kinoshita (eight points, eight rebounds) Ann Marie Goodman (eight points) and Nia Lopez (seven points).
At Woodburn 39, HRV 35
The next day, the Eagles traveled to face the struggling Woodburn Bulldogs (2-6) in another nonleague matchup. For the second time in a week, the Eagles lost a game by just four points.
It was a strange night for the Eagles, not in the least that they were facing an unusual instance of playing a back-to-back. Walker said that “the girls that normally score a lot for us just didn’t have good games,” which created a situation where scoring was spread around a lot, with almost every player putting up at least one point. Another oddity was how the Eagles had problems with their inside game, but shot well from outside the paint.
“The weird thing was we missed a lot of layups, but we made a lot of 10- 15-foot jumpers,” Walker said.
Woodburn, also coming off a back-to-back, caught the Eagles off-guard in the opening quarter, outscoring them 17-6. Walker said the Bulldogs played zone defense effectively, making it difficult for HRV to find its way inside. The Eagles tightened up the score 22-19, with Woodburn in the lead going into the half. HRV struggled again in the third, getting outscored 13-7, but then shut down Woodburn in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs, 9-4. Walker said the HRV defense wore Woodburn down with good pressure and frequent substitutions, but Woodburn’s lead proved insurmountable.
“We played kind of tired. We missed some shots we normally would have made; it just felt like the girls were pretty tired,” Walker remarked.
Senior guard Mykan Malone was HRV’s lead scorer for the first time this season, putting up six, and wing Emily Curtis, one of only two frosh on the varsity squad, was close behind with six. While it wasn’t the most explosive night for HRV on offense, Tuesday marked the second-lowest points allowed for HRV’s defense this season (first was Columbia High’s 32 points Dec. 12), and showed a significant reduction in turnovers from the previous evening (15 versus 35).
“I definitely think we’re getting better,” Walker noted. “We’re still having trouble putting both ends together… I think our effort is good, it’s just playing hard and playing smart and playing hard and smart at the same time.”
The girls don’t play again until Saturday, Jan. 2 against Kelso, Wash., in Hood River, then will be on the road for six out of their next seven games — the final three of which culminate the beginning of league play.