As of Friday, February 24, 2017
Considering their struggles against Columbia River Conference opponents this season, the HRV girls basketball team’s removal from postseason consideration was essentially a fait accompli before they played in The Dalles Tuesday night. The Riverhawks (8-11, 3-6 CRC) made it a reality, defeating the Eagles (6-12, 0-7) 44-15.
It was the worst loss HRV girls basketball had sustained — league opponent or otherwise — in at least 12 years (OSAA online records only go back to the 2013-14 season, and ones on oregonprepsports.net go back to the 2004-05 season). Lead scorers for the team — Haylee Baker and Ann Marie Goodman — each scored just four points. Though the team’s shooting percentages have been trending downward as of late, Tuesday’s performance was a season low for the Eagles, who went 0-for-13 from three, 7-for-23 from two (30 percent, 19 percent for total field goals), and 1-for-7 from the free-throw line. Ball protection was also an issue, as HRV committed 20 turnovers.
‘It’s important to remember that I asked the girls to learn a different brand of basketball this year — a defense focused, more physical brand of basketball. That takes time to learn.’
Although HRV struggled to score points, Head Coach Donnie Herneisen didn’t have qualms with his team’s shot selection.
“We are getting shots in the right places; we just aren’t getting them to fall,” he explained. “Much of that is about experience and just playing more. The truth is that Hood River athletes are typically really short on playing experience, when compared with other athletes in our league.”
The team failed to secure a play-in berth for the sixth season in a row and barring an unlikely upset against Hermiston Friday night (results unavailable at press time), HRV’s five-year streak of failing to beat a league opponent remains intact. The team followed up Tuesday’s defeat with a 48-39 loss Thursday in Pendleton to the league-leading Buckaroos.
Still, the team has made progress compared to the 2015-16 campaign. Last year, the team gave up 69 points per game (PPG) to CRC opponents and 55 PPG over the season, but after the game against The Dalles, had given up 52 PPG to CRC opponents this year and 42 PPG for the season, Herneisen said. Offensive production also improved from 35 PPG to 41 PPG.
“It’s important to remember that I asked the girls to learn a different brand of basketball this year — a defense-focused, more physical brand of basketball,” he noted. “That takes time to learn. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?”
The team will lose guard Nia Lopez, wing Abby Kinoshita, and post Ann Marie Goodman due to graduation, whom “each brought different talents to our team that will be hard for us to replace next year,” Herneisen said. However, he added that the team will return four of their top five scorers and three of their five top rebounders, “so we have a lot to build on.”