HRVHS girls return to IMC in a true transition year

Senior guard Haylee Baker, leading a fast break in last season’s action, moves to the two-guard spot and will be the main scoring option for the Eagles.

Here are schedules through December for Hood River Valley High School and Horizon Christian School basketball teams:


All games at 6:30 p.m. unless noted.

Nov. 30: At Silverton, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 1: At Madras Tournament, noon

Dec. 4: At Cascade High School, Turner, 7 p.m.

Dec. 7: Milwaukie High School, at HRVHS

Dec. 12: Sandy High School, at HRVHS

Dec. 14: At Reynolds High School

Dec. 18: Gresham High School, at HRVHS

Dec. 21: Rex Putnam High School, at HRVHS

Dec. 27-29: At Astoria High School

HRVHS boys basketball

All games at 6:30 p.m. unless noted.

Nov. 30: South Albany High School, at HRVHS

Dec. 1: Lebanon High School, at HRVHS

Dec. 7: Madras High School, at HRVHS

Dec. 8: At Madras Tournament, noon

Dec. 12: At Sandy High School, 7 p.m.

Dec. 14: At Reynolds High School

Dec. 18: Gresham High School, at HRVHS

Dec. 21: At Centennial High School

Dec. 27: Hudson Bay High School, at HRVHS

Horizon Boys Basketball

Nov. 30: Perrydale High School at Horizon, 6 p.m.

Dec. 1: Trinity Lutheran at Horizon, 3:30 p.m.

Dec. 7: At Damascus High School

Dec. 8: Trout Lake High School at Horizon, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 11: At Echo High School

Dec. 14: At Prairie City High School

Dec. 15: Ione High School at Horizon, 5 p.m.

Dec. 18: At Condon-Wheeler

Dec. 21: At Joseph High School

Note: Horizon will not field a girls basketball team this year.

Role players stepping into new responsibilities and turning experience into cohesion will be the keys for the Hood River Valley High School girls’ basketball team in a new season in a “new” league.

See pre-season schedule, sidebar.

The Eagles are back in the Intermountain Conference (IMC) again after OSAA reconfigured the former Columbia River Conference for basketball. IMC opponents will be The Dalles, Crook County, Redmond, Pendleton and Ridgeview of Redmond.

The Eagle roster has consistent size, and five seniors and two juniors, but it lost two MVPs from 2017-18.

“While we do have a lot of seniors on the roster, it’s going to be a transition year,” said coach Donnie Herneison. “With only one full-time starter returning from last season, this team will have a completely different makeup. We’ll be much smaller, but the goal is to play at a much faster pace.”

The team finished last season with a 10-14 record overall (2-7 in Columbia River Conference), which was an improvement on the Eagles’ 2016-17 record (6-14), and the best season at HRV dating back to 2010-11, when HRV went 12-12 on the season. HRV hadn’t had more than six wins in any season since.

“It’s going to be a challenge to replicate the success we built up last year, but with the move to a new league, there are some opportunities,” Herneison said. “We just need to keep making progress every week.”

Haylee Baker (senior, 5-7, point guard) is the Eagles’ only returning full-time starter from last year and likely to be the number-one option this year, after she heals up from an ankle injury, suffered right before the season started. Herneison said, “She may be good to go this week, but hasn’t practiced fully yet this season. “

Dani Valle (senior, 5-3, point guard) steps into the quarterback role of point guard as Baker moves to the shooting two-guard spot.

Lizzie Weekly (senior, 5-6, guard) is in her third year as a varsity player, and will be needed to step up as a consistent option to score, Herneison said.

Kaitlyn McNerney (junior, 5-10, forward) moves up from JV this year. Herneison called her “probably our most consistent shooter from outside right now, but she will have to defend the post.”

Barrett Ihde (senior, 5-9, forward) is undersized for a post, but very aggressive with the ball, said Herneison. (Ihde presents an asterisk of sorts: She’ll graduate early this year, so will only play the first half of the season.)

Bailey Frazier (senior, 5-8, guard) is another senior with three years of varsity experience, who “needs to become a major contributor,” Herneison said.

Morgan Baker (sophomore, 5-9, guard) “is long and fast, a solid defender and always a threat on a fast break.”

Grace Meyers (junior, 5-10, post), is out until late January with a broken wrist.

The team lost seniors Lauren Orr (6-1, post, season MVP, team captain) and Hannah McNerney (5-10, wing, Defensive MVP, team captain) to graduation.

“Lauren was our leading scorer and rebounder last year, so that’s a huge hole to fill. Hannah was always charged with guarding our opponent’s best player, and was also our best shooter from outside,” Herneison said.

Ashlynn Dawson, a starter last year as a sophomore, transferred at the end of last school year; and Emily Curtis (three-year varsity player, All-league, three-year team captain) is also not playing this year.

Assisting Herneison this year are coaches Katie White, a 2011 alum, and Steve Noteboom.

The Outlook

Nov. 28 at Silverton: The Foxes were the number-three team in 5A last year and, while they lost some seniors to graduation, they return their two 6-1 post players and players with a lot of high level experience, according to Herneison.

“They are likely to be the toughest team Hood River will have faced in many years. At game time, we will only have had five practices with this varsity group.

“To say it this game will be a challenge is likely a huge understatement.”

IMC: Herneison believes that with the IMC reformed, “it’s going to be a year to establish the new pecking order.” He sees it as a two-tier league. Pendleton won the CRC the last two years and graduated all of their starters, but Herneison sees them as one of the top three teams, probably along with Ridgeview and Redmond.

“My pre-season pick for player of the year right now would be Ava Kitchen from Redmond.

“I think Hood River, The Dalles and Crook County will make up the second tier of teams, but we will see how things shake down.”

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