Horizon Christian hosted their annual Hawk Invitational basketball tournament this past weekend and four teams from the OSAA 1A conference — Trinity Lutheran, Damascus Christian, Triad and Horizon —competed in the boys side of the bracket.
The Horizon boys opened the month of December with a 56-41 win over Damascus Christian to advance to the final on Saturday, Dec. 2, where they would face Trinity Lutheran.
Trinity edged out Triad by a score of 39-38 to advance to the finals matchup with Horizon.
In the championship game, Horizon showed some early signs of a young and inexperienced team against a similar team.
Horizon’s varsity roster is made up of six freshmen and four juniors, while Trinity’s has one junior, four sophomores and five freshmen.
Horizon came out in a full-court press and on the defensive end played a 2-3 zone.
After a mid-range shot by junior guard Bailey Holste to put Horizon up 2-0, Trinity responded to the up-tempo game the Hawks wanted to play.
With smart passes and great ball movement, Trinity was able to find openings in the press to advance the ball up court, finding gaps in the 2-3 zone and often a three-point shot.
They would go on a 11-0 run early on to make it 11-2 before a timeout was called by Horizon Head Coach Darrin Lingel.
The timeout seemed to compose and calm down the Hawks, especially freshman guard Caleb Lingel.
Back-to-back threes by Caleb, including an isolation three from the top of the key, made the score 8-11.
And the hand was still hot for Caleb.
With time winding down in the first, after a Trinity lay up to push the lead to five, Caleb responded by hitting a fadeaway mid-range buzzer beater over three defenders to cut into the Trinity lead heading into the second quarter, 13-10.
Trinity opened the second quarter with back-to-back threes of their own, forcing coach Lingel to use a timeout as the score was 19-12.
Once again, Caleb Lingel came out of the timeout and stopped the bleeding for the Hawks.
Caleb called for a pick and roll with his big man, and as Caleb’s defender went under the screen, he took the shot from distance and buried in his third triple of the first half.
Horizon headed into halftime down 25-19 to Trinity.
And in a second-half that had its continued up and downs from the first, Trinity was able to pull away from the Hawks 55-42 to win the Hawk Invitational.
The Hawks overwhelming problem was miscommunication on defense. Too many good looks for Trinity on their first shot attempts and second-chance opportunities on the offensive glass hurt Horizon throughout the game.
Although the boys didn’t come out with the victory, they were able to come away with much needed knowledge of the team’s personnel.
With Caleb being able to both control the offense and put up points on the scoreboard, it’ll make this a team to be reckoned with if they can combine a three-headed scoring monster in Caleb, Holste and junior wing Derek Johnston.
And although it’ll take some time for these three to gel at the varsity level, once they can complement one another there’ll be a whirl of excitement surrounding this team.
Statistics against Trinity: The Hawks leading scorer was Caleb with 13. Johnston added 11 points and Holste had eight on the night. These three combined for 13-39 from the field. Kai Robertson had seven points and two assists.
In the Hawks opening game against Damascus Christian, Holste showed just how lethal these three could be if they put it all together.
The beginning of this game didn’t start the way the Hawks were hoping.
Horizon came out in a 2-3 zone and were pounded on the offensive glass, nearly allowing offensive rebounds every possession for the first few minutes of the game.
But the boys held Damascus from scoring upon those offensive rebounds and after three minutes, the score was just 3-0 in favor of Damascus.
With five minutes left in the first quarter, Holste would begin to find his touch.
The first points of the game came from Holste’s bread and butter shot, a 15-foot jump off the dribble.
Then another mid-range shot, this time off an inbounds play on the weakside of the court, was put into the basket by Holste.
Holste started this game going 2-2 from the field and 2-2 from the free throw line, and was Horizon’s offense in the first five minutes of the game, as he had all six points of the Hawk’s 6-5 lead over Damascus.
Caleb gave Holste a hand with the scoring as he knocked down a three, and with two minutes left in the first quarter, it was all tied up at nine.
Damascus would continue to find the openings in the Hawks 2-3 zone defense and hit back-to-back threes, but after both threes, the Hawks responded with layups on the other end, making it a two-point game with time winding down in the first.
A defensive stop for the Hawks turned into two-points on the other end and heading into the second, this game was tied at 15.
Holste continued to find openings around the free throw line and began the second quarter by sinking a mid-range jump shot.
Going to the same spot on the next possession, he gave the Hawks a 19-17 lead.
Although it took some time, Johnston was finally able to get on the scoreboard as he knocked down a corner three to make it 22-21 with two minutes left before halftime.
The Hawks would close the first half on a 5-0 run, in big part to Johnston.
Johnston, with a minute left, grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Holste, who had a wide open mid-range for his fifth field goal of the half.
And with time winding down, after a defensive stop by Horizon, the Hawks found Johnston in the corner for his second triple of the night and went into halftime up 28-23.
The boys would rally behind Caleb’s 14-point second half and they would go on to take full control of this game in the second-half beating Damascus by a score of 56-41.
Statistics against Damascus: Caleb led the Hawks with 22 points and shot 9-10 from the free throw line. Holste was the second leading scorer for Hawks as he had 16 points and six assists. Johnston edged out the scoring for the Hawks with his 14 points, going 4-8 from the field and 2-4 from three. These three combined for 52 of the Hawks 56 points.
After this weekend’s games, Horizon players Holste, Caleb and Johnston showed they’re the X-factors on this year’s Horizon team.
If these players are able to put a whole game together on the offensive end of the court, it’ll do wonders for their development not only individually, but also for the growth of their teammates around them.
Next up for Horizon is a rematch versus Trinity in the opening round of the Triad tourney on Dec. 14 in Klamath Falls.