Horizon sizing up the competition

Height isn’t everything in basketball, but when your team has it, you can often do anything.

With five six-footers on an eight-man roster, the Horizon Christian Hawks are blessed with size — something that should carry the team to victory against many pint-sized opponents.

Beginning their second season with an independent schedule, the Horizon players and coach Ron Haynes hope to build some momentum so the team can earn OSAA status next season.

“These guys have really worked hard to improve their games since last year,” Haynes said. “For some of these guys, last year was their first in any organized sport.

“Some players went to summer camps to improve, while other played pick-up on the playground. So far, I like what I see,” he said.

Horizon’s season has already gotten underway, with three games in the past week and another one tonight against North Clackamas at Hood River Middle School.

Despite losing the first two to Cascade Locks Nov. 27 and Riverdale on Wednesday, the Hawks bounced back in a big way Thursday night and took the South Wasco JV’s to the rack by a score of 56-26.

Horizon is led by 6’3” junior shooting guard Sheldon Diers and 6’1” sophomore center Kenny Kincaid. Diers has scored in double figures in each of the first three games, while Kincaid has been a force underneath the basket, leading the team in rebounding in every game thus far, including 16 against Riverdale.

Another inside presence for the Hawks is 6’2” sophomore forward Torsen Rich-Wimmer, who plays with the heart of a lion and is extremely active on both ends of the floor. He has good hops, can block shots and has a soft touch inside the lane.

Another high-intensity player for the Hawks is starting point guard John Winters. Winters, a 5’10” junior, provides leadership on and off the floor, and is the hardest working player on the court.

Rounding out the starting five for the Hawks is 5’10” sophomore guard/forward Nate Zolp, who plays an opportunistic style on both offense and defense. He also has a sweet outside jump shot, which was on target Wednesday versus Riverdale when he led the team with 18 points, including 13 in the second half.

Coming off the bench for the Hawks are junior forward John Larson, junior center Keith Michaels, and freshman point guard Brian Stenberg.

Despite some inexperience, Winters has a lot of confidence in his backup.

“Stenberg is quick on both ends of the floor,” he said. “He’s learning to play at the high school level very quickly. He has the potential to become a great player and leader on this team.”

Michaels is new to the team this year, while Larson is entering his second season. Both players will see extensive playing time and will help the Hawks dominate the post as the season progresses.

The Hawks played North Clackamas Dec. 8 and face Arlington Dec. 12 at home. The team then goes on the road for five consecutive games.

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