Photo by Ben Mitchell
AGAINST STEVENSON, the HRV girls basketball team had a field day, outscoring the Bulldogs 63-28 in Hood River Dec. 28. The win was HRV’s fourth of the season — one more than the total number of wins the team achieved last season. Above, Abby Kinoshita pulls up for a jumper.
As of Tuesday, January 3, 2017
A little over a month into the 2016-17 HRV girls basketball season and the Eagles have already eclipsed their win total from the previous season. It was also their third win a row — the team’s first three-game win streak since the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
HRV routed the Stevenson Bulldogs 63-28 Tuesday night on the road, bringing the Eagles’ win total to four — one more than last year’s three wins, which all came from nonleague contests.
“I thought we played really well coming off the Christmas break. Great to see that we have a different leading scorer nearly every game,” said HRV Head Coach Donnie Herneisen. “Emily (Curtis) and Hannah (McNerney) both shot the ball real well… but they are both getting it done on both ends of the court as well. I thought the whole team played very solid, very balanced across the board.”
The game against HRV (4-4) and Stevenson (4-2) got out of hand real quick as the Eagles shelled the Bulldogs 16-4 in the first quarter and then put up another 20 to lead Stevenson 36-12 at the half. The duo of Curtis and McNerney shot at will — Curtis put up 21 points and shot 8-for-15 (53 percent from the field, while McNerney scored 17 on 7-for-12 shooting (58 percent). Both were season highs.
Abby Kinoshita came close to a double tallying nine points and as many rebounds, tied in the latter stat with Lauren Orr. Nia Lopez had one of her best nights of the season when it came to moving the ball, posting a team-topping five assists and seven steals.
Tuesday’s win over Stevenson marked the third game in a row that the team has scored 60 or more points, and as impressed as he is with the offense the team has generated as of late, Herneisen also gave kudos to the team’s defensive performance against the Bulldogs. The Eagles ended the month of December with the second-fewest points allowed in 5A basketball (275); the only team with fewer points, Silverton (234), had also only played seven games. On offense, HRV is middle of the road, tallying 369 points, which puts the team at 17th. The team is overall ranked 17th in the state and is second in the Columbia River Conference, just behind The Dalles (No. 14) and ahead of Pendleton (No. 19), and Hermiston (No. 25). No team in the CRC had a winning record as of Tuesday morning.
“(I am) most impressed with how our defense is developing and continuing to make things tough for our opponents. That toughness is going to be our defining characteristic as we move closer to league play,” he noted. “Still have a number of pre-season games to take care of first, and against more schools of our similar size, but we are ready for that challenge.”
Liberty 40 at HRV 37
HRV’s win streak came to an end Thursday night in Hood River in what was a hard-fought game against a very good 6A Liberty team (8-2). The Falcons held off a rallying Eagles squad to win 40-37.
Both teams overcame what was a very slow start offensively, turning the ball over frequently in the first quarter, with the Falcons only managing six points. Meanwhile, the Eagles managed just two points in the first quarter — their lowest-scoring quarter of the season — which came off free throws from Emily Curtis (seven points). They didn’t hit a field goal until early in the second quarter, courtesy of Ann Marie Goodman (two points).
“A reoccurring theme for us, Liberty’s pressure defense really bothered us and took us out of our game plan. We struggled to break their full court press, and then really struggled with their trapping half-court defense and turned the ball over way too much,” Herneisen explained. “Our young, inexperienced team had not seen a defense like that before. It was a good experience for us.”
HRV dogged Liberty the whole game, but couldn’t quite match the Falcons, who held the Eagles at arm’s length, outscoring the home team 13-10 in the second quarter and 12-10 in the third.
Facing a 31-22 deficit heading into the final eight minutes of play, the Eagles got their offense clicking and whittled away at Liberty’s deficit throughout the quarter and came within three points of the Falcons with 20 seconds remaining, but HRV’s rally fell short.
“I was happy with the way we battled back in the end. For us to shoot as poorly as we did, but still be in a position to tie it up in the closing seconds, was really fun,” Herneisen noted.
Points were spread evenly throughout HRV’s roster, but Lauren Orr led with 10 and Nia Lopez was second in scoring with eight.
Though it was the third-most points HRV has given up to an opponent this season (in a win or a loss), considering the quality of their opponent, it was arguably the Eagles’ best defensive performance of the year as Liberty averaged nearly 60 points a game heading into Thursday’s contest. It was the Falcon’s lowest-scoring game of the season.
HRV hosts Corbett Thursday at 7 p.m. and at Columbia High Saturday at the same time. Tuesday’s game with St. Helens was canceled due to weather conditions.