Powder Valley ends Horizon girls’ standout season in second round of state tourney

HORIZON IN ACTION: Jasmine Stevens passes the ball to Kaitlin Wenz during Saturday’s game against Powder Valley. Wenz scored a team-high 12 points.

Photo by Ben Mitchell
HORIZON IN ACTION: Jasmine Stevens passes the ball to Kaitlin Wenz during Saturday’s game against Powder Valley. Wenz scored a team-high 12 points.



The best girls basketball season in the history of Horizon Christian School came to end Saturday evening at the Hawks Nest in Hood River as visiting Powder Valley overcame a slow start and rolled Horizon 41-27 in the second round of the 1A state tournament.

The loss ended Horizon’s 13-game win streak that dated back to Jan. 20 — the longest streak in the 14 seasons Horizon has had a program — and prevented the team from reaching the round of eight portion of the tournament held in Baker City later this week.

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Jodee Hicks splits two Badgers defenders on her way to the hoop.

Turnovers and foul trouble proved to be the undoing for the Hawks (21-6, 13-1 Big Sky), who started out strong with a 7-0 run in the first quarter and though the Badgers (21-5, 12-3) went on a run of their own, Horizon still held a 9-8 lead heading into the second quarter.

Powder Valley tied up the game at 11 early in the second quarter and then went on a 11-0 run for the remainder of the quarter, taking advantage of free throw opportunities, an increasingly rattled Horizon offense, and an effective full-court press that forced Horizon to turn the ball over. A big blow for Horizon came when senior Jasmine Stevens — a key player when it comes to defense and rebounding — fouled out of the game.

“We’re five deep,” said Horizon Head Coach Brian Stevens, referring to his team’s small roster. “As soon as we lose a starter, we are in trouble.”

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KAITLIN WENZ

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Haley Becnel

The Badgers went into the half with a 22-11 and then continued their run in the third, going up 26-11 until the Hawks finally scored again with four minutes remaining in the quarter. Though the game looked grim for the Hawks, they refused to give in to adversity and cut Powder Valley’s lead back to single digits, trailing 28-19 heading into the final eight minutes. The girls were buoyed by the largest and loudest crowd the Horizon gym has seen all season, as members of the Horizon boys team helped lead the cheers in a boisterous student section.

However, that’s as close as Horizon would get. Powder Valley reeled off a 10-2 run in the middle of the fourth quarter, putting the game and a first-ever Baker City bid out of reach for the Hawks.

Stevens was upset with the disparity in foul calling and voiced his displeasure with the officials on more than one occasion during the game, although he readily acknowledged that the better team won. The Badgers’ defense held Big Sky MVP Paulina Finn to nine points and Jodee Hicks to six. Kaitlin Wenz was the only player on Horizon in double figures for scoring, putting up 12 points.

“At the end of the day, Powder Valley had the better, faster, stronger, quicker team than ours,” he noted.

It was a frustrating way to go out for the Hawks, and the loss was especially bitter knowing that Big Sky rival Arlington — a team that Horizon defeated to win the district title the previous weekend — was going to Baker City after defeating North Lake 54-43. But Stevens was proud of what his team had been able to accomplish this season — more than any other Horizon girls team before them.

“For the season, obviously they played well. They got better as the season went on. The time they put in the offseason definitely paid off.”

The team will lose seniors Hicks, Stevens, and Haley Becnel, but will retain starters Wenz and Paulina Finn as well as bench players Alexis Ruiz, Fiona Marsalis, and Marena Decker for the 2017-18 season, giving the Hawks plenty to build on.



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