A bright future for Horizon hoops

As the shock of a two-point loss in the state finals wears off, Horizon boys basketball turns its attention to next year

Horizon varsity boys basketball team (pictured here during a home game this season) graduates one of 12 players this year, bringing high expectations to next season.

Photo by Adam Lapierre.
Horizon varsity boys basketball team (pictured here during a home game this season) graduates one of 12 players this year, bringing high expectations to next season.

The Hawks return 11 of 12 varsity players to the program, which has finished fifth, first and second at the Class 1A state tournament in Baker City the past three seasons. Horizon spent most of the 2012-13 campaign ranked first or second and rode a 38-game win streak over two seasons into the March 2 title game — a 41-39 loss to City Christian of Portland.

Junior wing Matt Totaro said the team came a long way after losing six seniors off its 2012 state championship team.

“There was a lot of growth throughout the season,” he said. “It was a great season, but kind of a heartbreaking loss in the end.

“We were successful at a lot of things, so we shouldn’t hang our heads too low just because we lost our last game.”

Horizon finished with a 30-1 record and won its third successive Big Sky district championship.

Horizon’s lone senior, 6-foot-7 post Jake Wells, transferred to the school as a junior from Trout Lake. “Coming to Horizon was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Wells said. “Being the lone senior I saw myself as being in the leadership role — having to step up and lead the team.”

One way he did so was becoming a more vocal player on and off the court.

“Even though not everything this year turned out like we wanted; even though it might not seem like it right now; we still had an incredible season,” he said.

Horizon coach Darrin Lingel said Wells’ leadership will be missed.

“Obviously it was sad that he didn’t go out on a W (win),” Lingel said. “Overall, Jake played well this year.

“I thought the key of the whole (state) tournament was against Hosanna (in the semifinals). I thought for Jake, that was probably one of the best games I’ve seen him play.”

Wells finished fourth on the team in scoring with a 11.2-points-per-game average. He tied with Totaro for first in rebounding (8.7 a game) and led in blocks (3.1) and steals (2.5). Horizon returns 86 percent of its point production, led by Totaro (16.7 ppg), Jared Davis (11.8) and Mason Bloomster (11.5).

Lingel said the Hawk players should be more comfortable dealing with the pressure of carrying the favorite tag.

“All year it built every game,” he said. “When you get into the 20s (wins), you’re building every game with pressure — not to lose.

“You don’t talk about it, but it’s there.”

“I didn’t feel we were as confident as we should have been,” he added. “I felt some of the pressure got to some of the younger kids. It’s a big situation on a big stage. It’s something we can grow from.

“We have 11 returning off this year’s championship run,” Lingel added. “The future looks bright for next year, as well. Our goal is to make another run next year.”

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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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