Hawks top Huskies for district crown

February 22, 2012

HERMISTON - Payback proved sweet for the Horizon Christian School boys basketball team last weekend.

The Hawks (24-4) punched their ticket to the Class 1A state playoffs by winning the Big Sky District tournament at Hermiston High School on Saturday, avenging three regular season losses en route. Horizon will play a state playoff game 7 p.m. Saturday at home against the winner of Wednesday's Jordan Valley at Wallowa contest. Saturday's winner advances to the March 1-3 state tourney at Baker City.

The main event at district was Horizon's 65-56 title-game victory against regular-season champion Sherman County. The Huskies had defeated Horizon twice during league play - as well as twice last season.

"Beating a team three times in a season is difficult," said Hawks coach Darrin Lingel, who guided his team to the district title in similar fashion a year ago. "We played well against them at their place (a 65-59 Sherman win Feb. 10); they just played a little bit better. We were really looking forward to playing them again."

That showed as Horizon jumped out to an 8-0 start and was ahead 19-9 after one period. Sherman counterattacked behind the play of Zach Smith to take a 28-27 lead at halftime. Smith, a lanky, active 6-foot-2 senior guard, scored 15 points including three three-pointers before the break.

The game see-sawed in the third quarter. Sherman led 30-27 early in the period before Horizon's defensive adjustments started to pay dividends. The Hawks did a better job of closing on the Huskies' outside shooters - forcing them into an 0-for-6 performance behind the arc - and they bottled up the middle to defend slashes to the basket.

At the offensive end, sophomore Matt Totaro and junior Jake Wells started to control the middle, combining for 11 points in the period. Max Totaro's buzzer-beating, tough-angle, three-point bank shot from the left corner gave Horizon a 44-37 lead heading into the final period.

"You could tell that got to them a little bit; you could see it on them and their fans, too. They were really excited and then all of a sudden (silence)," Max Totaro said later. "And, no, I didn't call (bank)."

Scott Stroud's three-pointer with 7:27 to play brought the Huskies within 46-40, but Horizon went on a 5-0 scoring run and Sherman would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Wells led Horizon's counterpunch by scoring 22 points, and Matt Totaro added 21 points and 15 rebounds. Senior wing Sam Anthony chipped in nine points, nine rebounds and three assists.

The undercard to the championship win was Horizon's 78-66 dismantling of Ione in Friday's semifinal game. The Cardinals defeated Horizon 70-60 in the league opener for both teams in December, when Ione had Horizon on its heels the entire time. But the Hawks were on their toes at district, starting with their 70-36 opening win Thursday against Condon-Wheeler.

Horizon continued its heightened play a day later against Ione, using an offensive blitz to build a 30-17 lead after one quarter. Horizon shot 72 percent from the field in the first half and finished at 60 percent for the game.

Anthony did the most damage early, nailing five three-pointers in the first quarter on his way to 25 points.

"It was a weird feeling," Anthony said of his long-range shooting. "Once I got into that zone it was surreal."

Ione adjusted its defense to slow Anthony, so the Hawks dumped the ball into the 6-foot-7 Wells, who had his way with much shorter defenders. Wells scored a season-high 28 points, mostly on post-up, drop-step moves near the basket.

The third offensive cog for Horizon was senior point guard Max Totaro, who had his most efficient floor performance all season. The sleek ball handler scored 19 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out five assists. His court leadership directing the Hawks at both ends didn't make the stat sheet, but it did get noticed by his head coach.

"Max played perhaps his best overall game," Lingel said. "He did what we expect from a floor leader."

Also not lost on Lingel was the play of sophomore, blue-collar guard Micah Engel. Known as the team's perimeter defensive stopper, who shares point-guard duties, Engel had just one turnover in three district games.

"He played probably 70 minutes out of 96," Lingel said. "When you consider how much he handles the ball, and the intensity of the games - to have only one turnover - that's pretty phenomenal."

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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