Horizon boys steamroll ahead; girls win first league game

A powerhouse Horizon Christian School boys varsity basketball team steamrolled two opponents over the weekend by a combined total of 45 points to remain undefeated in both the Big Sky Conference (5-0) and in the OSAA’s Class 1A level (8-0).

Horizon’s senior trio of Mason Bloomster (17 points), Jared Davis (10 pts.) and Wes Johnston (nine pts.) combined for a total of 36 points to help lead the team (13-3 overall) to a 60-33 home win Saturday over the Mitchell-Spray Loggers (2-3 Big Sky, 6-7), and one-two scoring punch of Davis (24 pts.) and Bloomster (22 pts.) powered the Hawks to a 74-56 road win Friday in Maupin over the South Wasco County Redsides (3-3, 7-7). Davis and Bloomster lead Horizon’s offense as both average over 20 points a game.

Horizon has solidified its position atop the Big Sky while defeating every top contender in the eight-team league. The Hawks host the seventh-place Ione Cardinals (1-4, 2-9) this Friday and host the league’s last place team, the Condon-Wheeler Knights (0-4, 3-10) next Friday.

“We played very well on Saturday,” said coach Darren Lingel, whose squad is targeting a fifth straight Big Sky Conference championship this year. “Jared and Mason are doing a good job and I’m really pleased about their performance so far. We have to do a better job of having more balanced scoring. When you have two guys scoring a majority of your points, then it’s easier for opponents to defend against you. It’s a little harder to defend a team that has balanced scoring and that’s what we’re trying to improve on. Wes has the ability to score lots of points as well as Nick Andersen. We’re focusing on getting them more involved offensively. The other guys have to make key contributions by passing better and distributing the ball well to players who are in scoring position.”

Horizon’s only losses this year have been to Class 2A and 3A schools. One of those defeats was a Jan. 13 road loss to Class 2A’s No. 2 ranked Irrigon Knights (13-1) of the Columbia Basin Conference.

Horizon bounced back with a pair of impressive wins to extend its conference win streak, including regular season and district playoffs, to a combined 39 straight over the last four seasons. Horizon’s last Big Sky loss was 65-59 to the Sherman Huskies on Feb. 10, 2012.

On Friday versus South Wasco, Horizon overcame a 21-16 first quarter deficit and knotted it at 31-31 at halftime. Horizon took control of the game in second half surging ahead 54-42 going into the fourth quarter after outscoring South Wasco 23-11 in the third to build a double digit advantage. Horizon’s seventh ranked offense (60.7 points a game) was highly proficient as the Hawks shot 50 percent (26-for-52) from the field. In addition to scoring 22 points, Bloomster had an impressive performance with 21 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots.

On Saturday, Horizon led from start-to-finish in an easy blowout victory over Mitchell-Spray. The Hawks led 17-10 after one and then their solid defense held the Loggers to single digit scoring in the second (eight pts.) and third (four pts.) quarters, as they built a 48-22 lead after three. Bloomster had nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Sophomore Ethan Evans had nine points and nine rebounds.

Horizon girls get first Big Sky win

The Horizon Christian High Lady Hawks (1-4 Big Sky, 4-10 overall) captured their first Big Sky Conference victory with a 33-28 home win over the Mitchell-Spray Loggers Saturday. Senior Trista Hicks (11 points) and freshman Paulina Finn (11 pts.) scored in double figures to help lead Horizon to victory. Sophomore Jodee Hicks (Trista’s cousin) had a strong game too with six blocked shots and 11 rebounds.

For Horizon first-year coach Brian Stevens and his Hawks, it was a momentum building victory as it snapped a seven-game losing streak. Horizon meets the Ione Cardinals (3-2 Big Sky, 3-8) in their next game at home Friday at 6 p.m.

“The girls definitely played with a positive and upbeat attitude to get their first league win,” said Stevens. “They (Mitchell-Spray) are a team that is very similar to us, but it sure felt good to get a win and everyone was very happy about that. We need to get a win against Ione. It’s a big game for us, because it’s against a team that we should have a good chance of getting a win. We’re just hoping to win enough games to advance to the district playoffs for the first time in a long, long time and that’s our main goal this year.”

On Friday, the Hawks lost 40-19 to South Wasco County (1-5, 3-12), which marked Horizon’s 17th consecutive Big Sky loss over a combined period of the last three seasons. Saturday’s win over the Loggers was Horizon’s first Big Sky win since a 55-40 victory Feb. 6, 2013 over Central Christian.

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