Rutger Bogard, HRV Eagle Army
As of Friday, February 27, 2015
For seniors Dan Kuechmann, Austin Clarke, Scottie Ziegner, Kam Walker, Brandon Campos, Kaydin Gibbs and Colin Tegman, it turns out Tuesday’s senior night matchup against The Dalles won’t be their final home game in the Eagle uniform.
In a thrilling and pivotal end to the regular season, the Hood River Valley varsity boys basketball team defeated The Dalles – for the third time this year – 82-76 to end its Columbia River Conference schedule with a 5-4 record. That same night, Hermiston lost to Pendleton (45-38), which bumped the 4-5 Bulldogs to the conference’s No. 3 slot and the Eagles to No. 2, thus giving them a home play-in game for the upcoming OSAA 5A state championships. The boys are scheduled to host Northwest Oregon Conference’s No. 5 team, Parkrose, at 7 p.m. March 3.
“It was a very satisfying victory,” Coach Steve Noteboom said of Tuesday’s game. “Our goal since the beginning of the year was to be able to get at least third place in our league. After we defeated Pendleton in the league opener, we revised that goal to get first or second. It has been an exciting season and satisfying to watch the boys play with lots of energy and enthusiasm.”
Seniors led the way on senior night, with Ziegner posting a team-high 15 points, along with six rebounds, three steals and an assist. Gibbs added 15 points and five boards, and junior guard Dallas Buckley had 12 points and four steals to round out the team’s top three.
Fueled by their in-your-face brand of basketball, the Eagles broke out to an early lead against their closest rivals to the east. After leading by as many as 18 points, however, the Eagles had a lapse in focus and intensity in the third, while The Dalles found the inside lanes for easy buckets and converted ten of ten from the free-throw line that nixed HRV’s earlier lead.
A 25-point fourth quarter for the Eagles sealed the victory, and the team’s first playoff appearance in many years.
“We are very excited to host a playoff game and are urging the community to come out and watch an exciting style of high school basketball,” Noteboom added.
The Eagles hosted Ridgeview Friday (7 p.m.) in a non-league matchup against the Intermountain Conference’s No. 3 team. In Tuesday’s play-in game HRV is scheduled to host No. 20 ranked Parkrose, which finished with a 9-6 record in the Northwest Oregon Conference.