Photo by RJ Chavez
Senior guard JJ Mears led the Eagles in scoring last Friday with 21 points in the Eagles 65-56 home loss to Hermiston.
As of Tuesday, February 20, 2018
The HRV boys basketball team played its final home game of the regular season last Friday night against the second place team in the Columbia River Conference, the Hermiston Bulldogs.
Heading into its matchup with the Bulldogs, HRV was coming off a 70-54 home loss to the CRC leaders, the Pendleton Buckaroos, which dropped the Eagles to 2-5 in league play.
The last time HRV and Hermiston met, the Bulldogs were able to escape at the buzzer with a 71-69 home victory on Feb. 6.
In the final matchup of the season between the two schools, Hermiston would get the best of the Eagles on HRV’s senior night by a final score of 65-56.
This game started off in favor of the Eagles, with the emotions and excitement of senior night on their side.
Senior guard Peiyton Slatt opened the game with a three pointer — the perfect start to senior night.
With five minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Eagles and Bulldogs were tied at nine thanks to back-to-back threes by senior guard JJ Mears.
At the end of the first quarter, Hermiston had the slight 17-16 advantage over HRV heading into the second.
After trading baskets to open the second, senior wing Jonah Tactay went on a 5-0 scoring run, capped off by a three-pointer that forced Hermiston to call a timeout, giving the Eagles a 23-20 lead with 4:45 left in the quarter.
Tactay continued his dominance following the timeout as he got to the rack for a bucket and had a huge block that put the HRV crowd on its feet.
Mears hit a three with two minutes left to go up 28-26 to cap off a 10-6 HRV run.
However, Hermiston would outscore the Eagles 6-2 in the final two minutes and the Eagles went into halftime down 32-30.
HRV quickly regained the lead as they opened the third on a 5-0 run to make it 35-32.
The Eagles struggled to score in the remaining 5:30 and were outscored by the Bulldogs 12-2 to end the third. HRV went into the fourth quarter down 44-37, the largest Eagle deficit up until the final quarter of play.
The Eagles cut the lead to six to open the fourth, but back-to-back threes by Hermiston gave the Bulldogs a 52-40 lead with 5:30 remaining.
HRV responded to Hermiston’s 6-0 run with a 4-0 run to cut the Bulldogs’ lead back to single digits, 52-44 Hermiston.
Hermiston would go on to outscore HRV 13-12 in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, including a 6-2 run with 2:30 left in the game, to take the 65-56 victory on the road over the Eagles.
HRV game leaders: Mears led the Eagles in scoring last Friday night with 21 points on 6-13 shooting from the field. Tactay was the Eagles’ second leading scorer with 14 on 6-10 shooting. Senior forward Dakota Kurahara was the only other Eagle in double-digits as he finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
The loss for HRV drops the Eagles 2-6 in league play and 7-16 overall.
With a win in the Eagles’ final game of the season at The Dalles on Tuesday, Feb. 20 (results unavailable at press time), HRV could potentially have a play-in game to get a bid into the 5A state tournament, but a loss would end the boys’ season for good. Last time HRV and The Dalles matched up on Feb. 9 the Eagles won 81-67.