The Dalles senior Johnny Miller tries to navigate inside the paint in a 5A basketball game played last season. Tuesday in White Salmon, Wash., Miller hit four of the team’s 13 3-pointers and the Riverhawks won their first game of the year, 85-69. Ray Rodriguez file photo
The Dalles Riverhawks trailed by three points at the end of the first quarter, but over the next 16 minutes, spanning the second and third quarters of play, the team had its stroke going enough to grab a lead and hold on for an 85-69 victory over White Salmon, Wash. Tuesday in a road clash at Columbia High School.
“It feels great to get that first win out of the way, because that one is always the hardest,” Murr said. “Our potential to do really good things is high, because everyone on our team can shoot and, when we're hot, we stay hot.”
In all, the Hawks drained 13 of 31 shots from beyond the arc, with Dominique Seufalemua, Dawson Hoffman, Johnny Miller and Dakota Murr hitting multiple long-distance shots.
Eric Flores added eight 2-point field goals, one three-pointer, and hit on 5 of 5 free throws for his career-high 24 points, 16 coming in the second half. The senior guard also tacked on 11 rebounds and eight assists, nearly hitting his first-career triple-double.
“We have seen Eric put in the work on his own as well as in practice,” said TD head coach Nathan Morris. “I think he has this kind of potential every game and it was great to see him put it all together.”
Trailing by a 17-14 margin entering the second quarter, the Hawks rallied for a 22- 18 spurt, as Murr scored seven points, Flores added six, Hoffman dropped a 3-pointer and both Miller and Jack Bonham drilled two free throws each to make it a 36-35 TD lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Riverhawks tallied six three-pointers from five different players, Murr hit for 11 points to lead a 27-16 third-quarter charge, swelling the lead to 63-51 with one period left to play.
Murr and Flores took control in the final quarter with 18 of the team’s 19 points, each with nine points apiece, as the Hawks maintained their edge in a 16-point romp.
In their first two games, the Riverhawks had averaged 45 points a game, so while it was good to see the offense break out in a big way Tuesday, the defense, which has allowed 68.3 points a clip, needs to get tougher if The Dalles is going to compete.
“Defensively, we can’t play down to a team’s level and we have to bring more energy to the table to get in a groove of getting a lot of steals or forcing a ton of turnovers,” Murr said. “Another thing is, we must block out if we want to be a good team, because every team we are going to play is almost always going to be taller than us.”
Murr notched 14 rebounds to go with his team-leading 27 points, Miller hit four 3-pointers enroute to a 14-point effort, Hoffman hit on 10 points and Seufalemua finished with six points for The Dalles, who drained 29 field goals and went 14 of 22 from the free throw line.
White Salmon, now 1-3 on the season, managed 24 field goals for the game, 10 in the second half.
Brady Tullinger was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, and still led with 19 points, and teammate William Gross reeled off a 14-point effort.
“I felt like we got out-hustled and out-worked,” Morris said. “Fortunately, our shots were falling tonight and we were able to get things rolling offensively. I think when we put both sides of the game together for 32 minutes, we will be a pretty dangerous team.”
With Tuesday’s win, The Dalles (1-2 overall) moves up to No. 16 in the 5A rankings. TD hosts Sisters (1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday, depending on weather.
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, the Riverhawks make a trip to Redmond for a non-league matchup against Ridgeview (1-1).