Horizon Christian downs Pleasant Hill 61-46 in the championship game

by: DAN BROOD - GOING UP -- Horizon Christian senior Calvin Anderson goes past Pleasant Hill's Rhyland Hayter (21) and Jackson Bertsch and soars to the basket during Saturday's tournament final.SALEM — The Horizon Christian High School boys basketball team very well may have its sights set on winning a tournament title in March.

The Hawks showed they are making progress toward that goal by winning a tournament title this past Saturday.

Horizon Christian continued its strong early-season showing by rolling to a 61-46 win over Pleasant Hill in the championship game of the Crusader New Year’s Invitational, played Saturday at Salem Academy.

“This was good,” Horizon Christian senior Calvin Anderson said after the game. “Right now, we’ve been working hard every day. It’s been a great season so far.”

“We have our sights on the state championship,” said Horizon Christian senior Michael Loomis, who was named tournament MVP following Saturday’s game. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that. But we all know that we have to work hard every day.”

Pleasant Hill fell to 6-6 on the season with the loss. Horizon Christian, ranked No. 1 in the latest Class 3A coaches poll, improved to 9-1 on the season to that point with the win.

“We’ve been playing some tough competition, and we’ve done well,” Horizon Christian coach Dave Brown said.

“We’re having a blast,” Anderson said. “We’ve got the best team chemistry.”

While the Hawks may very well boast strong team chemistry, they had an off shooting night in Saturday’s tourney championship game, as they made 17 of 48 shots from the field.

But Horizon Christian found other ways to get the win.

“We grinded that one out,” Loomis said. “The best part of the night was how we played on defense.”

“I think we just outran them,” Anderson said. “We’ve been working hard on our conditioning.”

Horizon took its first lead of the game, at 4-2, when sophomore guard Trent Pihas hit a three-pointer from the top of the circle with 5 minutes and 2 seconds left in the first quarter. And the Hawks never trailed the rest of the way.

Loomis sank a three-pointer later in the period, which ended with Horizon holding an 11-8 lead.

Loomis went 1-for-2 from the foul line and Pihas sank another three-pointer to open the second quarter, upping the Hawks’ lead to 15-8.

Pleasant Hill came battling back, getting a three-pointer from senior Rhyland Hayter and a foul-line jumper from senior Travis Fritz to quickly trim the Horizon lead to 15-13.

But the Hawks pulled away in a hurry. Anderson scored four straight points, Pihas went 2-for-2 from the foul line after coming up with a steal and Loomis drilled a three-pointer from the left corner to up the margin to 24-13 with 4:01 left in the period.

The Hawks could only get two more points in the rest of the quarter, but, thanks to their defense, they still held a 26-17 advantage at halftime.

Anderson fired up the Hawks, and the Horizon Christian fans, with a thunderous dunk early in the third quarter, giving Horizon a 28-19 lead at that point.

by: DAN BROOD - THE CHAMPS -- Horizon Christian players and coaches pose with the championship trophy following the Hawks' victory over Pleasant Hill. Anderson had two more baskets in the period, including a three-pointer. Horizon Christian junior Parker Belan scored five points in the quarter, which ended with the Hawks holding a 42-30 lead.

Horizon started to pull away early in the final stanza. Pihas went 2-for-2 from the stripe and Loomis scored five straight points to up the margin to 49-33 with 5:06 left in the game.

Anderson scored seven points in the final 3:22 of the contest to help the Hawks close out the 61-46 victory.

“Everyone stepped up,” Anderson said. “We have a lot of guys stepping up this season.”

Anderson, who joined Loomis on the all-tournament team, scored a game-high 20 points., He also had seven rebounds and a pair of steals.

Loomis scored 19 points to go with eight rebounds.

Pihas had nine points, three steals and a pair of assists. Belan had five points and two steals and junior post Isaiah Hall had three points, five rebounds and two steals.

“Parker and Isaiah are warriors,” Loomis said. “They’ve both improved a lot, and they do the dirty work.”

“Parker played a fantastic game,” Brown said. “He was all over the place.”

Horizon Christian won the tournament title despite playing without a pair of key players, seniors Wyatt Houston and Zack Selland.

Houston is still recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in the football playoffs. He could be back in action later this month. Selland missed the tournament after having wisdom teeth removed earlier in the week.

Horizon Christian got to the finals of the seven-team tournament by scoring a 59-47 win over Blanchet Catholic in a tourney semifinal game played Friday.

Loomis scored 27 points in that victory. Anderson added 19 and Belan scored five.

The Hawks jumped back into West Valley League action Monday with a 46-33 win at Sheridan, despite playing without Loomis, who suffered a foot injury in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s tournament win over Pleasant Hill.

In the victory over Sheridan, Anderson led the way with 16 points and eight rebounds. Pihas scored 14 points to go with three steals. Belan added six points, four rebounds and a pair of steals before fouling out.

With that victory, Horizon Christian improved to 3-0 in WVL games and to 10-1 on the season.

Horizon scheduled to play at Colton in a league game on Wednesday. Results from that game weren’t available when the Times went to press.

The Hawks will be back in action Friday when they play at Dayton in a league game set to start at 7:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, Horizon Christian will host Westside Christian in a league game starting at 7:30 p.m.

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