Hawks win Big Sky

Hawks 48, Huskies 47

Jared Davis is hoisted in the air by his brother, Logan, on Saturday after Horizon defeated Sherman in a thrilling one-point victory to win the Big Sky title.

Jeremy Lanthorn
Jared Davis is hoisted in the air by his brother, Logan, on Saturday after Horizon defeated Sherman in a thrilling one-point victory to win the Big Sky title.

The No. 1 ranked Horizon Christian Hawks boys basketball team won its fifth straight Big Sky Conference title with two district playoff wins over the weekend at Hermiston High School.

Horizon (14-0 Big Sky, 24-3 overall) won 58-23 Friday over the South Wasco County Redsides (8-6, 13-12) to advance to Saturday’s District 6 championship game against the No. 8 ranked Sherman Huskies (11-3 league, 19-5). In a rugged defensive-oriented battle, Horizon pulled out a 48-47 victory on Nick Andersen’s game winning free-throw to capture its fifth straight district championship.


Mason Bloomster gets a rejection over a Sherman player as teammates Wes Johnston and Nick Andersen look on.

Horizon, guided by coach Darrin Lingel, will now host an OSAA 1A second round state playoff game Friday at 7 p.m. against a yet to be determined opponent. As district champions, Horizon earned a bye in the 16-team first round playoff bracket, which included eight games on Tuesday. If the Hawks win Friday, they’ll qualify for the state tournament March 4-7 at Baker High School for a fifth consecutive year and they would play a 1:30 p.m. quarterfinal contest on March 4.

“It was a really good game against Sherman,” said Lingel, who is hoping to guide the Hawks to their second state championship. “They did some things defensively that took some things away from us, which really made it a tough challenge. Sherman made some second half adjustments and they switched their defense on almost every one of our offensive possessions in the second half. It was a good strategy, because we couldn’t really get into any type of offensive rhythm, but the kids battled hard to help us be successful at the end of the game.”

It was a seesaw contest versus Sherman, with seven tie scores and 18 lead changes. Sherman led 18-10 after one quarter. The resilient Hawks came back with a strong second, outscoring the Huskies 21-13 to forge a halftime deadlock at 31-31. Horizon was clinging to a one point lead after three at 40-39 in the tight, high-intensity defensive battle.

“All our guys stepped up and played very well offensively and defensively, particularly Wes Johnston (five points), RJ Hicks (four pts.) and Andersen (season-high 15 pts.),” said Lingel. “Nick actually won the game for us by sinking the game-winning free throw.”

With .06 seconds in the game, Andersen found himself on the line; he missed the first free-throw then, after a Sherman time-out, came through in the clutch to make the second.

Sherman senior guard Ryan Aldrich played a solid game with 11 points and six assists. Jared Davis had five points and Mason Bloomster scored seven points and had a team-high nine rebounds. The 48 points marked the lowest total scored in a game this year by the Hawks, who have the fifth ranked offense with an average of 61.9 points per game.

In a one-sided matchup versus South Wasco on Friday, Horizon dominated the contest from start-to-finish with one of their strongest defensive efforts this year. Horizon jumped in front early with a 14-5 lead after one quarter and continued leading 21-15 at halftime.

The Hawks were phenomenal on offense and defense in the second half, while outscoring the Redsides 15-3 in the third and 22-5 in the fourth to pull away for a lopsided victory. South Wasco’s 23 points was the second lowest total allowed this year by Horizon. The Hawks shot a sizzling 60.5 percent (23-for-38) in two-point field goals. Davis led Horizon with 21 points and Bloomster had a strong performance with his double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds.

The two district playoff wins extended Horizon’s Big Sky streak to 49 games combined over the last four seasons. It marked Horizon’s 18th consecutive win over Class 1A teams as they remained undefeated at the 1A level.

Friday’s playoff game at the Hawks Nest will mark the final home game for seniors Davis, Bloomster, Johnston, Aldrich, Hicks and Andersen.

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