Monday, January 23, 2012/lk
Vannet Court was rocking, fans from both sides were chanting back and forth and going crazy over big plays and key baskets.
The Hood River Valley boys basketball team hopes that the day is coming where they can live up to the atmosphere.
While the cheering was constant throughout the night, the HRV offense was anything but. The Eagles struggled the entire game to find holes in The Dalles-Wahtonka 1-3-1 zone and fell 51-35 in Hood River.
"Their 1-3-1 zone gave us fits," HRV coach Steve Noteboom said. "When we did get open looks...well, we shot 25 percent."
Neither of the rivals got much offense going in the game, but TDW was able to hit some key shots when it counted and their defense more than made up for it.
"We knew it was coming," Noteboom said of TDW's defensive scheme. "But it was hard to replicate in practice. Part of that is my responsibility to get them ready and I didn't do that because we didn't have an answer for it."
Ryan Wheat was the only Eagle in double digits with 13 points. Luke Kopecky had seven points and Storey McKee and Cole Hunter had six each.
The Eagles had just four field goals in a 14-point first half. While HRV struggled to hit anything from the field on a night where it made just a quarter of its shots, TDW was able to get four three-pointers in the first half, to build an eight point lead at halftime, and then doubled it in the second.
HRV got no closer than 11 points in the second and never seemed to able to get more than half of a play going in its favor.
The Eagles could not find a way to get cuts or penetration on the Eagle-Indian defense in the first half. In the second half, the Eagles got some open looks, but could not get any of them to drop.
The epitome of the Eagles' night came with 4½ minutes to play when, after the Eagles had closed to within 11, Torey Schmidt fired a perfect pass to the usually dependable Wheat. Wheat missed a short jumper; TDW rebounded and went right through the HRV defense to the other end of the floor where the 6'5 Grayson Byers hit a tough layup between two HRV defenders.
Byers led TDW with 25 points and outscored the Eagles by himself in the first quarter when he had 10 points to HRV's six.
TDW was then able to continue stretching the lead thanks to turnovers from an HRV desperately trying to mount a rally. In the closing minutes McKee hit a pair of three-pointers for the Eagles, but it was too little, too late.
Still, Noteboom was glad to see the fans in the game to the end, and hopes that next time his team will really give them a reason to cheer.
"It was nice to see the crowd and we want them to see more exciting basketball," he said. "They wanted to cheer; we just didn't give them enough opportunities."