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Horizon defenders swarm the paint and box out opponents as a Dufur player pulls up for a shot during Friday’s game.

The HRV Boys Basketball team dismantled the Ridgeview Ravens at home on Thursday night 76-42, extending their league record to 5-0 and demonstrating just how terrifying a team they can be.

“Our offense took its time,” said coach Chris Dirks. “We talked this week about how when we get sped up on offense, when we try to take the first available shot, it backfires. The second half, we started that way but then slowed it down, took our time and got the shots we wanted.”

Despite the end differential, the first half showed a much closer game. The Eagles gave up easy buckets to Ridgeview by not moving well on defense, an aspect they would pick up in the second half. The high risk, high reward style eventually paid off, but early on it allowed Ridgeview to stay competitive. The first half ended with Hood River up 32-27, and no clear swing of momentum with either team. It looked like the game could go either way — then the third quarter began.

With a few raining threes and consistent turnovers and transition points, the Eagles soared to a sizeable lead throughout the third quarter. Offensively, they spread the floor, isolating key players to allow for penetrative drives and opening up quality shot opportunities. The third quarter ended with Hood River up 52-37, a demonstration of their defensive adjustments at work and offensive prowess coming alive.

“I think we did well,” said senior Carson Flores. “It was a good team performance, where everyone scored and contributed to the win.”

That they did. The Hood River bench came alive during their playtime, maintaining the pace and quality the starting five established; it seemed every group of players the Eagles put on the court were able to extend the lead and keep Ridgeview locked down. As Flores said, this truly was a team performance of an exceptional caliber.

The usual stars for Hood River played above and beyond their usual standards Thursday night: Carson Flores, junior Noah Webster and senior German Diaz were all over the court for the Eagles. Whether it was scoring, grabbing rebounds or stealing the ball, the trio led and the team followed. The team confidence was brimming throughout the game, symbolized by two plays, one by Webster and the other by Flores. For Webster, it was an attempted dunk in the first half after he stole the ball and broke away. The junior point guard has incredible hops, but just couldn’t manage to get the ball over the rim and watched as it rimmed out and Ridgeview regained possession. Ah well, it was still cool. The second came in the fourth quarter, when Flores knocked down back-to-back three pointers; the first was a standard shot, the second was five feet back from the three point line and shades of Stephen Curry with the grace and confidence with which Flores threw up the shot. The Eagles were on point, plain and simple.

“It’s crazy, today we went out ready to what works, and it worked,” said senior German Diaz. “We talked about controlling the offensive side, and that’s what we did.”

Hood River has learned how to expand their lead and maintain their strict defensive pressure to keep opposing teams from rallying. It’s a sign of growth for the team and one that will yield positive results through the season, but amidst the dominate performance and victory there was a sour note. A demonstration of poor sportsmanship that was unbecoming of the Eagles, and that hopefully they will correct. Several members of the HRV team continued to engage in trash talk, physical confrontation and mouthing off to the officials; this escalated to a technical foul by Flores in the fourth quarter, while the Eagles were up by more than 30 points. Now, in a close game where tensions are high, having emotional players is understandable. Up by almost double your opponent’s score? Not so much.

“We haven’t figured out how to keep those emotions in check,” said Diaz. “We’ll get there.”

“What I told them in the locker room after was next time this happens, act like we’ve been here before,” said Dirks. “Our attitude, our showmanship, that’s the next thing to work on.”

Scoring leaders for Hood River were Webster with 28, Flores with 20 and Diaz with eight. The Eagles will travel to Pendleton next Tuesday, barring any delays or rescheduling due to weather.

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