Senior night sweep completes perfect league season for Horizon boys

The powerhouse 1A No. 1 ranked Horizon Christian School boys basketball team steamrolled two more opponents over the weekend to conclude its Big Sky Conference schedule with a perfect 14-0 record.

Horizon (22-3 overall) won 79-42 over the Mitchell-Spray Loggers (5-9 Big Sky, 9-13) on the road Friday at Spray High School, and on Senior Night Saturday at home the Hawks had another dominating performance in a 70-46 victory over the South Wasco County Redsides (8-6, 12-10).

Saturday marked the 15th time this season Horizon has won by 20 or more points and was the eighth time the Hawks scored 70 or more points. Horizon has the No. 2 ranked offense at 62.64 points a game.

The four-time defending Big Sky Conference champion Hawks, guided by coach Darrin Lingel and assistant Mike Totaro, extended their conference win streak to 47 games. The impressive streak includes regular season and district playoff games combined over the last four years. Horizon’s last loss to a Big Sky opponent was 65-59 to the Sherman Huskies on Feb. 10, 2012. Horizon will be focusing on extending that streak when it plays in the Big Sky District Tournament Feb. 20-21 at Hermiston High School.

“The kids played very well in our final regular season game,” said Lingel. “All the seniors played well and we’re getting into a good routine now with our team both offensively and defensively. We’re on a roll and we’ve got lots of momentum going, so we’re feeling good as we get ready for the district playoffs. We focus on one game at a time. We’re excited about districts and having a chance to win it for a fifth straight year, so that should be fun. If we take care of business there, then we’ll have one more playoff game at home.”

On Friday, the senior starting trio of Jared Davis (16 points, nine assists), Mason Bloomster (19 pts., 13 rebounds) and RJ Hicks (14 pts., three steals) each scored in double figures to help lead Horizon to the lopsided win over the Loggers. Hawk senior starters Wes Johnston (eight pts.) and Ryan Aldrich (eight pts.) also contributed to Horizon’s impressive offensive attack, which marked their second highest point total this year.

Leading 16-10 after one quarter, the Hawks outscored the Loggers 23-13 in the second quarter to build a 39-23 halftime advantage. Horizon maintained its momentum in the second half, which included a dominating fourth quarter performance when they outscored Mitchell-Spray 20-3. Horizon was on target from the field in two-point field goals, while shooting 35-for-59 (59.3 percent).

Davis (16 pts., four assists), Johnston (11 pts.), Bloomster (15 pts., 15 rebs., six steals) and Aldrich (12 pts., four steals) scored in double figures to help lead the Hawks to victory against South Wasco. Horizon jumped in front 23-7 after one and outscored South Wasco in every quarter to maintain control of the game from start-to-finish in a dominating home win at the Hawks Nest.

“I think we came into our final home game with a playoff mentality and it feels pretty good to have the momentum of a long winning streak,” said Aldrich. “We definitely feel like we’re ready to play well at districts. It’s very satisfying to know that we’re having another very good season. It was an awesome and fun experience with Senior Night and it was a very emotional feeling as well. I think we can always get better, but I think we played one of our best games tonight (versus South Wasco).”

Prior to the contest, Horizon’s seniors (Davis, Bloomster, Aldrich, Johnston, Hicks, Nick Andersen, Tristan Gillis, Shawn Wang and Nick Zerkel) were honored in a special Senior Night ceremony with each player accompanied by their parents and midcourt.

“Senior Night was fun and it was hard to believe that it was our last regular season game,” said Bloomster, who played on the Hawks 2012 state title team along with Davis and Aldrich. “Hopefully, we’ll have one more home game in the playoffs. We came together and had a real good performance with everyone doing their job. We finished the regular season really well. I think if we continue playing up to our maximum potential, then I don’t think any team can stop us from our goal of winning the state championship. Our six seniors have been playing together since we were in seventh grade and we’re all very familiar with each other. We’ve been looking forward to this season for a long time.”

If Horizon wins the district championship, the team will host an OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires second round state playoff contest Feb. 27. If they win that contest, Horizon would advance to the state tournament quarterfinals Mar. 4-7 at Baker High School for a fifth consecutive year. The Hawks are seeking to win the state title for the first time since 2012.

Horizon girls

The Horizon girls basketball team kept their hopes alive for chance to reach the Big Sky District Tournament for the first time since 2012 after winning 34-24 Friday over the Mitchell-Spray Loggers (2-12 Big Sky, 7-16 overall) at Spray High School.

The Hawks (3-11 Big Sky, 6-19) needed another win in their final regular season home game on Senior Night Saturday versus the South Wasco County Redsides (5-9, 7-16) to stay alive in the playoff race. The Lady Hawks got off to a good start when senior Hannah Lingel sank a free throw to help Horizon take a 7-4 lead after one quarter. The Redsides took control from that point on though, outscoring the Hawks 48-22 over the final three quarters in pulling away for a 52-29 win.

The three Hawk seniors (Lingel, Trista Hicks, Hannah Kempf) were honored in a special Senior Night presentation. They each received flowers and were accompanied by their parents at midcourt prior to the last game of their career at the Hawks Nest.

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