Yes, the South Wasco County Redsides have lost three games in a row, but head coach Jim Hull has seen enough development and encouraging elements to feel confident his team can flip the switch in time for a deep playoff run.
Saturday, in their season finale at home versus No. 1-ranked Horizon Christian, the Redsides fell behind 40-30 at the half, but staged a few comebacks bids in the second stanza, until time finally wore down in an 82-68 loss in Big Sky Conference boy’s basketball action in Maupin.
“Our guys really went after it and hit some big shots. I think defensively, we won the turnover battle and we had more shots than them,” said SWC coach Jim Hull. “In the end, what it came down to, especially in the fourth quarter, is them getting those extra rebounds. Their height kept giving them an advantage and we just couldn’t overcome.”
The Hawks built that 10-point halftime lead on runs of 18-16 and 22-14, but the Redsides were able to dip into that lead in the third quarter, twice getting the lead down to four points.
Midway through the fourth frame, SWC narrowed the lead down to six points, but Horizon found a way to get the bounces.
Matt Totaro had 30 points and Mason Bloomster kicked in 24 for the Hawks, who hit on 33 of 54 from the floor, 17 of 26 in the second half.
For the Redsides, Travis Hayes had things working for 24 points on 8 of 13 from 3-point range.
David Ocacio reeled off 22 points and Loreto Morelli canned 18 points and six boards for SWC, who shot 25 of 67 from the field and 10 of 32 from three-point range.
“Going through this rough part of schedule, we didn’t win a game, but they were all close,” Hull said of the three straight losses. “One thing I do know about close games is that there a couple of things that can go your way and it could mean a win, so we were right there. It helps us get prepared for the district tournament. There is a lot of pressure, but I think we are ready for that.”
SWC (13-10 overall, 4-4 league) plays Condon-Wheeler (10-14, 5-5) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hermiston High School.