‘Control and heart’ guide Eagles in new hoops year

Junior wing Noah Webster earned expanded playing time late in the 2017-18 season and will be counted on to fill a starting role this season.

Photo by RJ Chavez
Junior wing Noah Webster earned expanded playing time late in the 2017-18 season and will be counted on to fill a starting role this season.

Eagle girls fall to Silverton

With more turnovers than points in the first half, the new season got off to a rough start Wednesday for the Hood River Valley High School girls basketball team.

The Eagles traveled to Silverton and were defeated 75-19.

“We didn’t even get on the scoreboard until the second quarter,” said coach Donnie Herneison. The score was 45-8 at halftime.

“Nineteen turnovers in the first half really killed us. Silverton was much bigger, more athletic, and more experienced than we are, and it showed,” Herneison said.

Adding to the first-game woes: Haylee Baker, the only fulltime starter returning this year, was lost in the first quarter to an ankle injury.

“With only five practices before our first game, we are still figuring out who we are. We really don’t have a ‘go to player’ right now, and we need to establish who fills the different roles that our team needs in order to be successful,” Herneison said.

“Many of our players are needing to step into new roles this year that they aren’t quite comfortable with yet. With a season opener against a 5A Top 10 opponent, it’s always going to be challenging. Hopefully it is a good wake up call for us. “

Winter high school sports begin competition

Winter scholastic sports have moved beyond practices and into real competition, starting Wednesday with the Hood River Valley Eagles’ girls basketball team’s season-opener in Silverton.

Here’s a summary of what’s happening in the next week or so:

Horizon basketball:

Dec. 1: Trinity Lutheran at Horizon, 3 p.m.

Dec. 7: 6:30 p.m. at Damascus High School

Dec. 8: Trout Lake High School at Horizon, 5:30 p.m.

Eagle wrestling: Season opener, v. St. Helens, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Eagle boys and girls swimming: Season opener at Gresham on Nov. 29 (results not available at press time.)

The swimmers’ home opener will be Dec. 6.

Eagle girls’ hoops:

Dec. 4: At Cascade High School, Turner, 7 p.m.

Dec. 7: Milwaukie High School, at HRVHS, 6:30 p.m.

Eagle boys’ hoops:

Dec. 1: Lebanon High School, at HRVHS, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 7: Madras High School, at HRVHS., 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 8: At Madras Tournament, noon

Eagle Nordic ski team: season starts Dec. 8 in Bend

Young blood, yet ready.

That’s one way to frame the picture in 2018-19 for the eager squad that is the Hood River Valley High School’s boy’s basketball team.

The Eagles have a core of experience, with leadership from senior guard Carson Flores, but much to expect from a young group including two sophomores who will see extensive action in 2018-19.

Coach Christopher Dirks said, “Overall, this group of guys knows what it takes. They have been putting in work since the season ended last year.

“They understand that each player has to play their role in order to be successful, and they know that it takes control and heart. I am excited about where we are right now.”

“Right now we have a solid core of 7 to 9 players. All but seven players are going to be playing in the JV game and three players will swing up to varsity,” Dirks said.

“We have two or three guys who are about six-foot-two-inches, and that is about it for height.

“Our style of play will not be an issue with a lack of size. We are returning three full time varsity players from last season and six players that saw five or six games of varsity minutes at some point during the season last year.”

Dirks said, “We want our defense to fuel our offense. We are going to be a defensive first, hard-working team. We want to be known for that. We may not be very tall, but we are athletic.”

The team has plenty of opportunity in December to prepare for league play in the revamped Intermountain League starting after the holiday break.

Also in the IMC are The Dalles, Redmond and Ridgeview of Redmond, Crook County, and Pendleton.

Dirks said the Eagles’ season-opening starting line-up will be:

Carson Flores — 5’-7” senior guard and sole full-season starter from last year;

Noah Webster — 6’-1” junior wing who worked up to a starting spot by the end of last season;

German Diaz — 6’-2” senior wing who was a role player last year

Jack Seikkinen — 6’-1” sophomore wing who saw six games of starting varsity minutes as a freshmen

Brandon Smiley — 6’-2” senior forward who also saw six games of starting varsity minutes last season

Key rotation players:

Cruise Hawk — 6’-0” senior wing who saw action in six varsity games last year

Brandon Rivera — 5’-7” senior who took last season off with an elbow injury suffered in football

Ian Searcy — 6’-0” sophomore wing who worked his way from the freshmen team to the JV team last season and also saw limited time on the varsity floor.

The Outlook

Looking across Intermountain Conference, “it’s open,” Dirks said.

“There is a clear team to beat in Pendleton, but really we think we can complete with every team on our schedule this year. It is a very exciting time to be part of this group!”

The team opened its season Friday at home against South Albany, and plays again at Vannet Court at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 1.

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