Horizon falls to Ione, but never rolls over

The Horizon Christian basketball team fell to 1-12 on the season Tuesday night with a 71-53 loss to Big Sky Conference foe, Ione, at Wy’east Middle School.

Seniors John Winters and Sheldon Diers each scored 15 points and sophomore Brian Stenberg added 10, as the Hawks tried to break a four-game losing streak.

But the Cardinals’ run-and-gun style, combined with a slow start by Horizon, sent the Hawks to their fifth straight defeat.

“We knew Ione would want to run, and they did,” Horizon coach Ron Haynes said. “We were trying to avoid a first-quarter lull, but just couldn’t seem to get ourselves going until the second half.”

In fact, if the Hawks played the entire game the way they did the third quarter, they may have taken Ione down to the wire.

After falling behind 20-7 at the end of one and 35-15 at halftime, the Hawks were reenergized by a 7-0 run to start the second half. Diers hit one of his four three-pointers to cut the lead to 13, and Horizon was in business.

“Sheldon is our leader,” Stenberg said. “When he gets going, we all start following his lead. That early run really sparked us, and I think that if we had played the same way in the first half, the score would have been closer.”

Aside from the slow start, foul trouble also became a factor for the Hawks. Freshmen big men Jeff Larson and Jon Strickland were each tagged with their third foul in the second quarter, and the road to recovery proved too steep.

“We’re not going to think about our record too much,” Stenberg said. “As long as we keep improving with every game, we’ll get a win here and there.”

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