The HRV girls basketball team headed into last Friday night’s home matchup versus The Dalles on a two-game losing streak, having fallen to Pendleton and Hermiston.
The first matchup between HRV and The Dalles, on Jan. 30, favored the Eagles. They won on the road by a final score of 51-38; this win for HRV was their first Columbia River Conference win in four years.
In the girls’ second matchup last Friday night, The Dalles would get the better of HRV as they came into Vannet Court and beat the Eagles by a final score of 45-42.
Despite the loss dropping the Eagles to 1-5 in CRC play, which ties them for third-place in league standings with The Dalles, HRV head coach Donnie Herneisen said the loss changes nothing for the team.
“We have to go out and try and compete every night,” said Herneisen. “Even with a win against The Dalles, we would have clinched nothing, so nothing really has changed other than us giving hope and confidence to our opponents.”
Early on, both teams went back-and-forth at each other, but back-to-back threes by junior guard Haylee Baker would give the Eagles a slight 15-14 edge after one quarter of play.
The 6-0 run to end the first quarter extended into the following quarter as senior guard Emily Curtis opened the second with a fast-break layup, a three pointer and a free throw to give HRV a 21-14 advantage.
With under a minute remaining before halftime, The Dalles hit a three and ended the second on a 5-0 run to cut HRV’s lead to 21-19 heading into halftime.
Although the Eagles started the third quarter strong on a 7-0 run, HRV would only outscore The Dalles 12-9 in the third to head into the fourth quarter with a 33-28 lead.
The Dalles opened the fourth on a 6-0 run to take their first lead of the game since the first, 34-33.
With four minutes remaining in the game, Curtis hit a jump shot to regain the lead, but within seconds the Riverhawks would respond with a three to take the lead right back from HRV, 37-35.
Out of an HRV timeout, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run thanks to a three by Baker and three free throws by Curtis, giving the Eagles a 41-37 lead with 2:45 left in the game.
The Dalles would respond with a 6-0 run of their own, and with one minute left in the game, the Eagles were down 43-41.
With under a minute remining on the game clock, Lizzie Weekly went to the line for HRV and knocked down one of two free throws to cut the Riverhawks lead to one, 43-42.The Riverhawks would then push their lead to 45-42 after a pair of free throws with 20 seconds remaining.
The following offensive possession for the Eagles would get Curtis, who had the hot hand in this game, a great look from the wing for three, but it would fall just short.
After the miss the Eagles would foul The Dalles in hopes for missed free throws to have one more chance at a shot to send this game into overtime.
With seven seconds left, The Dalles went to the line and missed both free throws.
HRV would grab the defensive rebound and call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Eagles executed getting the ball up court quickly, but in their second chance to send this game into overtime, the girls didn’t attempt a shot at the buzzer and as the final horn sounded the ball was still in the hands of an Eagle ball handler, giving The Dalles the 45-42 victory in Hood River.
“The difference in the fourth quarter was that we got into foul trouble and we had to go to our bench,” said Herneisen. “We had two players foul out, which forced us to put players on the court that might not have been prepared for that intense situation. We turned the ball over and gave The Dalles every opportunity to win that game, and they capitalized.”
The Eagles committed 25 turnovers versus The Dalles, many of those coming late in the fourth due to the inexperience of situational basketball from some of the girls who were asked to step up, as Herneisen explained.
Leading scorers versus The Dalles: Curtis led the Eagles with 21 points on 6-10 shooting, including 3-5 from three and 6-7 from the free throw line; Baker was the only other Eagle in double figures with 12 points on the night, all of which were from beyond the arc as she was 4-9 from the three-point line.
After the game versus The Dalles, Herneisen’ s message to the team with three games remaining in the season was “about staying together as a team and finishing this last round of league play strong.”
HRV will be on the road in Eastern Oregon this week.
The Eagles opened the week in Pendleton on Tuesday, Feb. 13 (results unavailable at press time).
Before Tuesday’s game, Herneisen said that this team “needs to be better prepared to play better against zone defenses. We move the ball pretty well against zones, but we still need to look to get the ball inside. Opportunities were there for us to do that against The Dalles, but we didn’t take advantage of it.”
The girls end this week in Hermiston on Friday, Feb. 16.