Wednesday, March 2, 2011/lk
Time to make room for a new boys basketball championship banner at the Hawks Nest.
The Hawks took home the Big Sky league tournament title Saturday with a 64-21 win over Dufur in Umatilla.
After getting a strong second half in their tournament opener against Condon-Wheeler, and a strong first half against Ione in the semifinals, the Hawks got a complete game in a rout of the Rangers.
"It all came together Saturday and they played very well," Horizon coach Darrin Lingel said. "I was thinking all along that this team was going to come together."
Max Totaro hit a long three-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer to give the Hawks a three-point lead, and they never trailed after that.
Sam Anthony capped a strong tournament run with a 19-point performance, giving him 47 over the three games, with Jordan Anderson contributing 14.
The Hawks had a significantly harder time against Ione Friday night.
After the Hawks jumped out to a 14-6 lead in the first quarter, the Cardinals flew back into the game, eventually taking a four-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
At that point Lingel called a timeout and gathered his team together.
"I told them if we were going to win this game, we would do it as a team and not as individuals," Lingel said.
The Hawks responded and rallied to win the game 49-46.
"The teams that can battle through adversity are the ones that will win," Lingel said.
While the Hawks rallied past Ione, the Rangers dispatched Sherman, Horizon's nemesis in the regular season, to set up the championship game.
Lingel said he was particularly impressed with Anthony and freshman post Matt Totaro during the tournament.
Totaro helped the Hawks dominate the boards, finishing with 15 offensive rebounds and 26 total rebounds. Anthony also did his share of glass cleaning, finishing with 36 boards.
Anthony also led the Hawks with 47 points over the three-game tournament.
"He played unbelievable basketball," Lingel said of Anthony.
Max Totaro scored 37 total points for Horizon, including 12 in the semifinal win over Ione.
Anderson had 31 total points and also had 12 against Ione.
With the tournament championship, the Hawks earned a first-round bye in the state tournament and will host either St. Paul or Columbia Christian at home Friday night for the right to advance to the final eight-team bracket in Baker City March 2-5.
Their coach is just hoping that the effort he saw against Dufur carries over into another complete effort.
"If we play like we did against Dufur we'll be tough to beat," Lingel said.
Game time for the Friday contest is 7 p.m. General admission tickets go on sale 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the school. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students. Season tickets holders can pick up a maximum of four tickets starting Wednesday at 2 p.m.