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Hawk hoops poised for a new year revival

The Dalles guard Josh Nisbet attacks the rim during varsity action at Kurtz Gym. With added depth and more consistent guard play, the No. 10 Hawks are hoping to further progress before league action on Jan. 19.

Photo by Ray Rodriguez
The Dalles guard Josh Nisbet attacks the rim during varsity action at Kurtz Gym. With added depth and more consistent guard play, the No. 10 Hawks are hoping to further progress before league action on Jan. 19.



Getting through the toughest part of the regular season schedule, playing four games in 11 days, The Dalles boys’ basketball team posted a 3-1 mark, with a three-game winning streak snapped last Friday by a 66-61 margin at home against No. 4-ranked Bend.

In that contest, the No. 10 Riverhawks matched the Lava Bears shot-for-shot and fell behind 32-30 at the half and 45-44 entering the fourth quarter.

Bend, however, converted on 8 of 12 free throws and made three 3-pointers for a 21-17 run to secure its sixth win of the season.

Brian Warinner posted a team-leading 19 points, Bryan Brown notched 16, and Brock Mesarich wound up with 10, eight in the fourth quarter.

All told, The Dalles made good on 22 field goals, 10 3-pointers, and converted 7 of 8 free throw attempts, as Dakota Murr, Josh Nisbet and Jacob Hernandez surpassed double digits.

Murr scored 11 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, Nisbet tacked on 16 points, 11 were first-half points and was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Hernandez totaled 13 points, and both Oscar Fernandez and Henry Lee tallied five points apiece.

Looking at the body of work, the Hawks have won five games, three against teams with .500 or better winning percentages, and two of the three losses were by five points (Sandy 64-59) and Bend (66-61).

“We’ve had some good wins and some tough losses. When you think about it, we just want to learn from every game we play,” TD junior Oscar Fernandez said. “We know we have a team here to go to state. It is up to us to keep playing like we know how.”

The Hawk offense has jumped from 52.8 points a game last season up to 59.5 so far, and the defense is allowing nearly 10 points fewer, dropping from 66.2 to 57.0.

Murr is consistently hitting 20 points a game, including a season-high 29 on a game-winning 3-pointer against Milwaukie on Dec. 19, Nisbet brings defense and clutch scoring to the mix, and Hernandez is showing top improvement in his sophomore season, adding a valuable weapon on the hardwood.

“We don’t have a lot of height, but we have speed and defense,” Nisbet said. “We have players who can score inside and outside, and that will help us when teams try to take Dakota out of the game. It is good to have the depth we have. Our main focus is on defense though. If we can’t play defense, we won’t win many games.”

TD still has non-league matchups against La Grande (5-5), Crook County (2-9), Redmond (3-4) and Mac-Hi (8-2) to gain more experience, so the key is using this time to hit a peak at the right time of year.

At this point in the season, the numbers are there, and the Hawks are two wins from matching last year’s mark, where they didn’t win their fifth game until Feb. 22 against Hood River Valley.

“The kids know they are talented and they can put the ball in the hole, they can defend, they can turn other teams over and they can rebound, but we just got to put all those pieces together on a more consistent basis,” TD head coach Nathan Morris said.

The Riverhawks hit the road to La Grande at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 3.



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