Nonleague schedule gives way to tough CRC matchups for HRV girls

The nonleague schedule for the HRV girls basketball team drew to a close Tuesday night and with it, another difficult loss to a 6A team that the Eagles had to put behind them as they prepared for their Columbia River Conference debut against the Pendleton Buckaroos (4-9) on the road Friday.

The Eagles (3-10) lost to the 6A Gresham Gophers (5-9) on the road by a score of 50-37 — one of several contests this season that has seen HRV play up a classification. The deck was stacked against HRV before the game as HRV Head Coach Scott Walker said four of his players were sidelined with either illnesses or injuries and that the team was not “in good enough shape to sustain good pressure defense for 32 minutes.”

It was a step back for the team that has seen some progress in both defense and ball protection in recent games. Walker noted that despite “a good first half defensively,” a zone defense resulted in one of Gresham’s best shooters going unmarked and ringing up 23 of Gresham’s 50 points. Making things difficult for HRV on the other end were the team’s 25 turnovers and shooting 12-for-61 from the field (20 percent). Perimeter shooting proved to be exceedingly difficult for the Eagles Tuesday night, who missed all 14 of their three-point attempts. However, HRV had one of its best shooting nights from the foul line, going 13-for-19 (68 percent).

Leading HRV in points, rebounds, and assists was Marlie Bloomster, who had 10, seven, and four, respectively. Lauren Orr was close behind with nine points and five rebounds and Emily Curtis had eight points and two rebounds. Orr also had a team-high three steals, tying with Kassidy Davidson.

With nonleague contests done for the season, the team turns its attention to what is expected to be a challenging CRC schedule, as HRV enters league play with a No. 32 ranking in 5A and will be facing teams that all have higher rankings, including Hermiston, which has the second-highest scoring offense in 5A girls basketball (842 points, second to La Salle Prep’s 864).

“With the exception of Canby, we haven’t seen teams the caliber of our conference teams. With Hermiston ranked seventh, The Dalles ranked 19th, and Pendleton ranked 22nd, they are all going to be a challenge for us. Until we get that first game out of the way, I won’t know what form that challenge will take for us, but I do know that for us to compete, we have to take better care of the ball, we have to shoot better, and our team defense has to be quicker,” Walker said Wednesday morning. “As for now we will go into practice today and try to get better for Pendleton on Friday.”

The girls were scheduled to play the Buckaroos at 7 p.m. (results not available as of press time). HRV’s next game will be a road contest against the Hermiston Bulldogs (12-3) Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.

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