Rough start, finish deflate HRV girls

Season in review

At the start of the 2001-02 basketball season, first-year head coach Tracy Norton was hoping seven would be her lucky number.

If her team was to compete with state-ranked opponents like Central Catholic, and league powers like Gresham and Barlow, she would need all seven of her seniors to stand up to the challenge.

Spearheaded by sharpshooter Lindsay Benjamin and post prowlers Meghan Merz, Mickie Halliday and Lesley Betts, HRV took on every opponent with equal vigor.

Junior starters Becki Flory and Becca Meierbachtol added a quickness and athleticism to the lineup that ensured no team would get past them without a fight.

Despite starting the year 1-7, the Eagles were never in awe of their competition — especially on the road. In their first meeting with No. 2 state-ranked Central Catholic on Jan. 4, the Eagles took the Rams down the final tick before eventually bowing out in overtime.

Then, against an underrated Barlow squad on Jan. 11, the Eagles came back from an enormous second-half deficit to take the Bruins down to the wire. They even put the screws to league No. 3 Gresham on Jan. 18 — a game the Eagles led after three quarters, but couldn’t put away.

“The close games against Gresham and Central Catholic were the highlight for me,” said Benjamin, who led the Eagles in scoring for the second consecutive season with 13.6 points per game.

“It seemed like, win or lose, we all stuck together. No matter the outcome, it was always fun.”

But while the Eagles were able to sneak up on the league’s title contenders, they struggled against less-talented teams from Sandy, Centennial and Parkrose, which kept them from catching Reynolds for the fourth and final playoff berth.

It didn’t help that HRV lost both season meetings to the defensive-minded Raiders, who came into HRV on Dec. 7 and stole a win while the Eagles’ only pure ballhandler, Meierbachtol, recovered from a knee sprain.

The injury also didn’t help the girls as they tried to break the early-season seven-game slide. However, once Meierbachtol returned to the lineup Dec. 14, the team took on a new identity. The faster-paced Eagles started breaking through presses and whipping the ball around the perimeter on their way to four wins in seven conference games.

Benjamin rediscovered her stroke and started drilling threes like a Stanley on her way to becoming the MHC’s fourth leading scorer and earning all-conference first team honors.

Merz and Halliday seized control of the paint, while Flory matured into a relentless defender and complimentary scorer. Betts also came on late in the season and established her presence in the post.

Seniors Lindsey Sanguras, Meghan Stintzi and Susie Benton also played integral roles during the midseason resurgence, but something went awry following the Eagles’ payback win over Centennial on Jan. 15.

Just when it appeared that HRV may make a run at the final playoff spot, it stumbled the next four games and ended up losing six of its final seven to finish 5-11.

“One of the things lacking this year was court experience,” Benjamin said. “But I think if the younger girls start playing year-round, they’ll do fine.”

One of the future leaders for the team, as it moves into the Intermountain Conference, will be junior Brittany Reed, who solidified her position as the primary post presence for the Eagles next season.

“Although we’re losing seven seniors, I’m confident that our group coming up will step up and take on bigger roles,” Norton said. “There will be more pressure on Becca and Becki for leadership and offense, but I’m confident they’re up to the challenge.”

Also stepping into the mix next year will be JV stars Alyssa Ortega, Anna Hidle, Suni Davis, Kathryn Guisto and Ashley Botts.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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