After carving up some softer teams in nonleague action, the HRV boys basketball team received a rude awakening Friday evening when they traveled to Pendleton, opening up Columbia River Conference action with a game against the Buckaroos.

Pendleton (4-4, 1-0 CRC) rolled HRV (5-8, 0-1), defeating the Eagles 69-40, jumping out to a 21-point lead in the first half on a night where pretty much nothing went right for HRV.

“We set goals for every game — against Pendleton, we did not meet any of our goals. We didn’t have an opportunity to practice and prepare like we were planning on doing, which never helps,” explained HRV Head Coach Christopher Dirks, referring to last week’s inclement weather that disrupted school activities. “That being said, it was good for us to understand that league basketball is a little more competitive; there’s a little more grit and an edge to our competition. It was a wakeup call for me as a coach, as well as the players, for their first league game at the varsity level.”

On a night where they team had two more turnovers than rebounds (26 versus 24, respectively), the Eagles desperately needed a good night on offense to make up for their mistakes. They didn’t get it. HRV shot an abysmal 28 percent from the field, hitting nine field goals on 32 attempts.

One of the few bright spots for HRV was the team’s free-throw shooting, buoyed by Dakota Kurahara’s 11-for-12 performance (92 percent) at the line, helping the Eagles to hit 70 percent (19-for-27). The junior big man led the team with 18 points thanks to him making the most of his appearances at the charity stripe. Kurahara had far and away the best performance for HRV, also leading the team in rebounds (seven), steals (two), and blocks (three). The next closest scorer to Kurahara was Braxton Wilson with five; Trenton Hough had a team-high two assists.

The Eagles need to have a short memory, as they face the sixth-ranked Hermiston Bulldogs (10-3) on the road Thursday at 7 p.m. in another league game.

“This week, barring weather cancelations, should be an intense and competitive week of practice. With one game out of the way, we know what to expect going forward,” Dirks noted. “We are looking forward to getting back into a routine of basketball.”

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