Photo by Adam Lapierre
Solid defense contributed to the Eagles’ 58-48 win Tuesday over Hermistion. Pictured above are (from left) Dallas Buckley, Andrew Roberts, Skyler Hunter, Austin Clark and Tyrone Stintzi holding-down the defensive end.
Led by Dallas Buckley’s 16 points and Skyler Hunter’s 14, the Hood River Valley Eagles’ varsity boys basketball team gave Hermiston a taste of good old-fashioned revenge Tuesday night at Vannet Court.
After losing to the Bulldogs by 11 points in the first of three meetings this season (Jan. 30 at Hermiston), the Eagles hosted their Columbia River Conference rival in a must-win matchup that ended 58-48 in favor of the home team. The win puts HRV in a three-way tie for first in the conference with Hermiston and Pendleton – all at 3-2 — with four games remaining in the regular season.
Although Buckley and Hunter scored more than half of the team’s points, the win was a total team effort, and for much of the game it was even more one-sided than final score reflects. At halftime the Eagles were up by ten (28-18) and came out firing in the third with an exciting 14-point run that fired-up the sizable home crowd and gave the boys their largest lead of the night.
On the other side of the court, Hermiston seemed lackadaisical from the get-go, managing just four points in the first quarter against HRV’s zone defense and never really regaining footing after. The Bulldogs did have a late run in the fourth to trim the margin considerably and spare some dignity before the final buzzer.
“We are now tied with Hermiston and Pendleton for the conference lead,” coach Steve Noteboom commented. “We play three of our last four league games on the road, which makes it more of a challenge, but not insurmountable. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to be one of the top three teams in league; we will reevaluate that after Friday’s game (7 p.m. at The Dalles).”
With a legitimate shot at the first Columbia River Conference title in team history, the team will have to continue evaluating strengths and weaknesses and see where it can improve, even from a win like Tuesday night.
On the upside, the Eagles played an all-around solid game of basketball, and the team’s new approach of fast-paced, in-your-face basketball seems to be improving with every game. The boys also rebounded exceptionally well, tallying 28 total (11 offensive, 17 defensive) led by Buckley with six and Kaydin Gibbs, Tyrone Stintzi and Scottie Ziegner with four each. Noah Noteboom had a game-high five assists and Austin Clarke had four to help break up Hermiston’s defense and create scoring opportunities, while the team shot 50-percent (7-14) from three-point range, led by Hunter who was four for six and Buckley who was two for two.
Areas of improvement were accentuated in the final quarter, when Hermiston went on a run to cut their deficit from more than 20 down to just ten.
“During the fourth quarter we talked about better ball movement and eating up more of the clock,” Noteboom said. “I don’t feel like we did a very good job of that. We took quick shots and our defense was lacking. We allowed Hermiston to get to the basket, which we had not allowed the first three quarters.”
After Friday’s game at The Dalles (results unavailable as of press time) the Eagles are on the road next week at Pendleton Tuesday and Hermiston Thursday for what will likely be the team’s most important week of the season. As of this week, the conference title is still very much up for grabs, and with the top three schools in the conference earning spots in the playoffs, HRV is all but guaranteed its first post-season appearance in many years.
Dallas Buckley: 16 pts, 6 rbds, 1 steal; Sklyer Hunter 14 pts, 2 rbds, 5 steals; Scottie Ziegner 8 pts, 4 rbds, 2 steals; Kaydin Gibbs 7 pts, 4 rbds, 2 steals; Colin Tegman 4 pts, 2 rbds, 1 steal; Tyrone Stintzi 3 pts, 4 rbds; Zak Ellsworth 2 pts; Clarke 2 pts, 1 rbd and 4! assists; Dan Kuechmann 2 pts, 1 steal; Kam Walker 3 rbds, 1 assist; Noah Noteboom 2 rbds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 4 deflections