Pressure and experience beats young Horizon team in opener

Horizon basketball junior guard Bailey Holste is one of three upperclassmen on the Hawks roster and will be key to their success.

Photo by RJ Chavez
Horizon basketball junior guard Bailey Holste is one of three upperclassmen on the Hawks roster and will be key to their success.

Last year, the Horizon Hawks boys basketball team traveled to Stevenson for their first game of the year and would lose big on the road, 78-55.

The boys would go on to finish their 2016-17 season with a 17-12 overall record and an 8-6 league record.

That finish would put them at number 21 in the final 1A OSAA standings, which was a step back from their previous 15th rank in the 2015-16 season.

This year, Horizon started their season once again on the wrong side of a blowout.

The Hawks hosted Stevenson on Nov. 29 and lost by a score of 91-59.

However, Stevenson didn’t pull away with the game until the third quarter, as the Hawks kept it close heading into halftime, only down 10 points.

But an experienced Stevenson team came out in the third and caught an unexperienced Hawks team off guard.

Full court pressure was applied out the gate by Stevenson and it forced the Hawks into early second half turnovers, which almost always was converted into a basket for Stevenson on the other end.

And when the Hawks did break the press, they often got the ball and pushed it up court freely, which seemed to play right into Stevenson’s game plan.

Stevenson, with athleticism and size on their roster, wanted the Hawks to play up-tempo and whenever Horizon was able to break the press, that’s exactly what they did.

And again, with the carelessness by the Hawks on the offensive end when pushing the ball up court, Stevenson was able to force the Hawks into making bad passes and taking tough shots.

And when there wasn’t a bad pass or tough shot being made, the Hawks’ over aggression to score the ball on the fast-break often led to offensive fouls.

All these things, however, wouldn’t mean anything if Stevenson couldn’t score, but time and time again, it was either Stevenson converting a lay up or knocking down a three-point shot on the other end.

After awhile, it became too derailing, and with a core group of juniors and freshmen for the Hawks, it showed them that there are still a few growing pains left.

Although the Hawks lost big Wednesday night, they ran into a good team for their first game of the season.

Stevenson has an All-State caliber player that’s surrounded by experienced teammates that know each other’s skillset, while many of the Hawks were not only playing together for the first time, but also seeing varsity action for the first time.

Horizon guards Bailey Holste and Derek Johnston are the two offensive playmakers on Horizon’s roster and will be key to their growth as a team this season.

The Hawks had a chance to bounce back Friday night against Damascus at their annual Hawk Invitational.

With a win or loss against Damascus, the Hawks will still have a home game Saturday, Dec 2, but what time and their opponent have yet to be determined.

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