Photo by Ben Mitchell
LAUREN ORR cuts around a Riverhawks player during Tuesday’s game with The Dalles.
As of Friday, February 3, 2017
On paper, Tuesday’s contest with The Dalles offered the HRV girls basketball team one of the best opportunities to break The Eagles’ league win drought. A home game against a team with a losing record that both Hermiston and Pendleton had beaten by double digits — the latter of which HRV lost to by just a three pointer in their league debut Jan. 20.
But on the hardwood at Vannet Court, it was a different story. The HRV fans, jacked up after a rowdy victory over The Dalles boys earlier that evening, fell quiet as Riverhawks poured in seven three-pointers in the first half — an outside shooting performance that the Eagles couldn’t come close to matching. In fact, on a night where The Dalles shot 51 percent from the field, HRV went the other direction, shooting 28 percent, including a disappointing 4-for-22 (18 percent) performance from inside the arc. The disparity from the field doomed the Eagles (6-7, 0-3 Columbia River Conference), and the Riverhawks (6-7, 1-2) cruised to a 54-38 victory.
The poor shooting night was made more frustrating by the fact that HRV did a lot of other things well. Head Coach Donnie Herneisen noted the Eagles had a season-low in turnovers (17), a season-high in free-throw shooting (15-for-19, 79 percent), and nearly matched The Dalles in rebounding (21 versus 23). For all their inside shooting woes, the Eagles did well from three-land, going 5-for-10 (50 percent).
“Really, we just had our worst shooting game of the season, and I would venture to guess that The Dalles had one of their best nights shooting, especially in the first half,” he explained. “Defensively, we need to improve on limiting their guard penetration, and rotating quicker to limit their open looks. They had three players make two or more threes in the first half. That’s tough to defend, but we’re capable.”
Hannah McNerney had one of the better offensive performances for HRV, scoring a team-high 11 points and going 4-for-8 from the field. Also scoring for HRV were Emily Curtis (eight), Lauren Orr (seven, team-high six rebounds), Ann Marie Goodman (six), Bailey Frazier (three), Lizzie Weekly (two), and Haylee Baker (one).
With the first round of CRC play in the books, and no wins for HRV, the Eagles have put themselves in a difficult, and unfortunately, a familiar position.
“After seeing all the teams play, we are right about where I thought we’d be, but not where I hoped we’d be,” Herneisen admitted Wednesday morning. “I think we gave away the game against Pendleton, and could have played The Dalles better. The only real surprise at this point is Pendleton beating Hermiston last night (53-48). We clearly need to improve on both sides of the ball. Fairly obviously, we need to shoot the ball better and limit the opportunities for the other team. There’s no secret to it, but we have to go out and execute on game day.”
The Eagles were supposed to travel to Pendleton (7-6, 3-0) Friday evening, but inclement weather forced the cancellation of that game, which was rescheduled to Feb. 23. HRV travels to Hermiston Tuesday for a game with the Bulldogs (8-9, 2-1).