The Eagles had a tough showing at home Thursday night when they faced the Redmond Panthers and were defeated 58-43.
The game started off with strong showings by both teams. The Panthers used their size advantage and quick passing to score down low, while the Eagles took advantage of some fast break opportunities to put in a few points of their own. Once the Panthers started hitting shots, however, their lead expanded and Hood River fell out of competition.
“We struggled defensively in the first half to cover both of the Redmond star players,” said coach Donnie Herneisen.
Those stars, McKaylie Capps and Ava Kitchin, scored a combined 34 points for Redmond, the majority of that coming in the first half, with Capps hitting six threes in the game.
Hood River was plagued by injuries early on in the season, but have now returned to a nearly-full roster. Seniors Haylee Baker, Bailey Frazier and Sonja Joplin-Clay have all returned from injuries that had them out since early December. Any players still out are expected to remain out for the rest of the year.
“We have everyone back that is going to be back,” said Herneisen. “They’re working on getting back into game shape after missing months of play.”
Yet as the Eagles return to relative full strength, they are soon saying goodbye to senior Barrett Ihde who’s graduating early. Ihde was honored for a special senior night before Thursday’s game, which was her last game as an Eagle.
“We are really going to miss Barrett out on the court,” said Herneisen. “She’s really transformed in the last year into a much more aggressive player, actively looking to score and lead the other girls on the court. We wish her well in her future endeavors and travels.”
Hood River had a strong fourth quarter showing against the Redmond bench, rallying to bring the score to a respectable margin. Haylee Baker and Frazier led scoring with 10 each, followed by Morgan Baker with nine, Ihde with eight, and Kaitlyn McNerney and Dani Valle with three each.
Hood River will travel to Prineville next Friday to play Crook County in what Herneisen expects to be “a good battle.”