The HRV boys basketball team traveled to The Dalles on Jan. 30 searching for their first league win of the season.
Despite being up at halftime for a third game in a row, the Eagles were once again unable to sustain a lead throughout an entire four quarters and lost by a final score of 72-66, moving HRV to 0-3 in Columbia River Conference play.
The rivalry game started slow, as both teams had only scored a combined eight points halfway through the first quarter, but regardless of the offensive struggles, the intensity that’s embedded into the roots of this matchup was still evident inside of The Pit.
The Eagles came out with the first punch of the game as they went on an 8-0 run in a three-minute stretch.
With one-minute left of play in the first quarter, HRV was up 13-5 and had The Dalles crowd silent, but a big three-point shot made by The Dalles brought the Riverhawks crowd back to life heading into the second quarter HRV was up 13-8.
As the crowd found their way back into the game, junior guard Noah Webster opened the second quarter with a steal and took it to the other end for a layup, settling down the home crowd.
This sequence of momentum switching between the two teams was a recurring theme in the second quarter.
Anytime the Riverhawks went on a scoring run, The Dalles crowd fed off of that to make their presence felt, but HRV, time and time again, would respond with timely buckets that silenced the home crowd.
HRV went into halftime with a 33-29 lead over The Dalles.
And once again, after halftime is when things took a turn for the worse for the Eagles.
In the final two quarters, HRV head coach Christopher Dirks felt that the boys had “got away from being disciplined and doing the little things well.”
Some back-and-forth play between the teams opened the third quarter, but by the halfway point of the third, The Dalles had tied the game up at 40.
Then the turnovers for HRV would get not only The Dalles boys going, but their crowd.
The Dalles took a 42-40 lead after a steal that transitioned into a lay-up on the other end.
And in the final minute of the third quarter, The Dalles forced two HRV turnovers and would go on a 6-0 run, but the Eagles were fortunate to only go into the fourth down by four after a layup made by senior wing Tanner Wells at the buzzer.
With a 48-44 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, The Dalles opened with a three to push the lead to seven. A turnover by HRV the following possession turned into two points on the other end for the Riverhawks, and only a minute into the fourth quarter, The Dalles pushed their lead to nine.
Junior guard Carson Flores hit a huge three following The Dalles 5-0 scoring run to settle down the crowd, but The Dalles would connect on a half-court lob pass seconds afterwards that brought the home crowd to their feet once again.
With momentum clearly not on the Eagles’ side, Flores hit another three following The Dalles half-court lob to cut the Riverhawks lead down to five with six minutes remaining in the game, 55-50 The Dalles.
The back-to-back threes by Flores were crucial for HRV as it kept them within striking distance and it also prevented The Dalles crowd from getting out of hand.
But The Dalles would respond to HRV’s attempt to stay in this game with what felt like a finishing move.
The Riverhawks went on a 6-0 scoring run thanks to back-to-back threes. The run gave The Dalles a 61-50 lead, and kept the crowd on their feet and in the ears of the HRV players for the rest of this game.
HRV would fight until the final buzzer as they played the foul game and hoped for missed free throws by The Dalles, but the Riverhawks would come away with the 72-66 win over the Eagles.
The loss for HRV moves the Eagles to 0-3 in league play and the team is currently on a four-game losing streak. The win for The Dalles puts them at 1-2 on the season in league and gives them the third-place standing in league over HRV.
“It stings that we have dropped three games in a row where we led at halftime,” said Dirks. “We know that these are hard places to play and even harder places to win, but if we can put together complete games, we will start feeling what it takes to win and that's the biggest thing right now — we need to feel success for four quarters.”
Against The Dalles, senior forward Dakota Kurahara led the Eagles in scoring with 18 points on 8-19 shooting from the field. He also led the team in rebounds grabbing 15 of the Eagles 30 total.
Senior guard JJ Mears was the Eagles’ second leading scorer Tuesday night with 15 points and led HRV in assists with six.
Carson Flores and Jonah Tactay were the two other Eagles to score in double digits versus The Dalles as Flores ended with 11 and Tactay had 10. Flores also led the Eagles in steals with two, while Tactay had the second-most rebounds for HRV with four.
The boys go on an eastern Oregon road trip the following two game, playing at Pendleton on Feb. 2 (results unavailable at press time) and then at Hermiston next week on Tuesday, Feb. 6. The next home game for the boys will be next Friday, Feb. 9 against The Dalles; tip-off for this game is at 7 p.m.