The HRV girls basketball team headed into their matchup at The Dalles on Tuesday night on a three-game losing streaking, including an 0-2 start to Columbia River Conference play after road losses to Pendleton and Hermiston.
With the Riverhawks 0-2 in league play prior to Tuesday’s matchup as well, one team was going to come out of The Pit with their first league win of the year.
And on Tuesday night it was the Eagles who came away with a 51-38 win to move to 1-2 and third-place in conference, while dropping The Dalles to 0-3 and last place in conference.
The victory for the girls was the first league win for HRV since the 2011-12 season and as HRV Head Coach Donnie Herneisen explained, “It’s nice to finally get that monkey off our back.”
The Eagles looked like they were going to start off strong on the offensive end versus The Dalles as they opened the game with a three-point play, the old fashion way, as senior forward Lauren Orr connected on an and-one post move score.
After the three-point play by Orr, HRV’s defense picked up The Dalles full-court and would force the Riverhawks into some early turnovers.
But like the Eagles, The Dalles would also apply full-court pressure defensively and forced the Eagles into three turnovers following the opening three-point play by Orr.
These turnovers didn’t end up being too much of a problem for the Eagles as they were still able to get out to an early 7-2 advantage over the Riverhawks.
However, the turnovers committed by HRV in the final five minutes of the first quarter did give the Eagles some issues.
The Dalles pressure on the defensive end helped the Riverhawks to go on a 11-5 run, which led to a 13-12 lead for The Dalles over HRV heading into the second quarter.
HRV came out in the second and continued to turn the ball over as they opened the quarter with three straight turnovers, but HRV’s defense only allowed The Dalles to convert those turnovers into two points.
Junior guard Bailey Frazier finally ended the turnover stretch for the Eagles as she got fouled going up for a layup in transition. She would go on to knock both free throws down to cut The Dalles lead back to one, 15-14.
Frazier’s free throws would be the start of a 7-0 run for the Eagles and with just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter, HRV had took a 19-15 lead.
HRV would close out the quarter on a 13-6 run and head into halftime with a 25-21 lead over The Dalles.
After quarter two, Herneisen explained that no changes were necessarily made from the first half to second half, “but we always challenge the girls to try and win the third quarter, and they responded really well against The Dalles,” said Herneisen.
In the first half, the girls had a total of 15 rebounds, and in the third quarter alone they would go on to match their first half total with 15.
The girls outscored The Dalles 10-8 in the third quarter to take a slight 35-29 lead.
But in the final quarter, the girls would pull away as they would go on to score 16 points, the most of any quarter for both teams Tuesday night, and also held The Dalles to just nine points to come out of The Pit with the 51-38 win.
The girls ended the night with 36 points in the paint and shot only four threes all game, making two. Herneisen explained that for this team, “that was a big change.
“While Orr had another dominant performance inside, we were very balanced in scoring, with four girls getting into double figures,” said Herneisen.
Orr led the girls in scoring with 15 points on 6-10 shooting from the field. She also tallied in a team high 13 rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
Emily Curtis and Ashlynn Dawson followed Orr in the scoring column as they each had 11 on the night. Curtis had a team high in assists with three, while Dawson added five rebounds and two assists to her final stat line.
Junior guard Haylee Baker was the fourth double digit scorer for the Eagles as she had 10 on the night on 4-7 shooting, including 2-2 from beyond the three-point line. Baker also had a team high four steals and added five rebounds.
After the game, Herneisen talked to his team about how to handle what’s ahead for the girls.
“We talked about getting that first league win and using it as momentum going into our upcoming home stand,” said Herneisen. “It’s going to be really nice to be able to play at Vannet Court for awhile.”
The girls were back at home for the first time since Jan. 16 on Friday night, Feb. 2, against Pendleton (results unavailable at press time).
After Pendleton, the girls will have two home games next week. They’ll welcome Hermiston to Hood River to open the week on Tuesday, Feb. 6; tip-off is at 7 p.m.
On Friday, Feb. 9 the girls will be home against The Dalles; tip-off is at 5:30 p.m.
After the girls, the boys will play with tip-off at 7 p.m.