By Randy Parks
Trevor Smith’s free throw with less than 10 seconds to play in the game not only gave Burns a 61-60 win over Umatilla, it also gave the Hilanders their first league title in 27 years and their first state playoff appearance in 22 years.
The win over Umatilla on Saturday, Feb. 16, gave Burns an 8-2 record in the Eastern Oregon League (EOL), and they will host Rainier this Saturday, Feb. 23, at Burns High School in a first-round state playoff game.
Burns vs. Umatilla
With the EOL title on the line, the Hilanders found themselves down by three with less than 1:30 left to play in the game. Burns then forced a Viking turnover, and Tommy Ghost Dog tied the score at 60-60 with a 3-point shot.
The Burns defense again came up with a stop and a foul by Umatilla on a fastbreak opportunity set up the game-winning free throw by Smith.
“I’ll tell you what, that was one of the sweetest feelings ever,” Burns coach Eric Nichols said. “To see the hard work of the kids pay off was tremendous. We’re going to ‘the show’ and the credit goes to these kids who have worked so hard for this opportunity.”
The Hilanders were led by Drew Heinz with 20 points and Ghost Dog with 11. Smith finished with nine, Steven Smartt eight, Garrett Swisher seven and Tyler Fenton six.
1 2 3 4 Final
Uma 13 20 16 11 60
Bur 23 7 14 17 61
Burns vs. Riverside
The Hilanders took control of the game early and cruised to a 60-42 win over the Pirates on Friday, Feb. 15.
Heinz scored 20 points, and Smartt added 16 for the Hilanders.
The Hilander defense also kept the Pirates’ Bryce Doherty in check, holding him to just 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field.
“The kids came out tonight with a lot of fire and intensity,” Nichols said. “Our defensive effort led to some easy baskets at the other end.”
1 2 3 4 Final
Riv 6 13 11 12 42
Bur 16 16 16 12 60
Burns vs. Ontario
Three Hilanders combined for 44 points and the Hilander defense held the Tigers’ Tad Anzaldua to 10 points in Burns’ 58-54 win over Ontario on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
“This time Ontario shot like mortal men,” Nichols said. “Trevor (Smith) and Logan (Garner) did a great job guarding Anzaldua.”
Heinz led Burns with 22 points, Ghost Dog finished with 12 and Smartt added 10.
“Drew led the way with points, but our entire team helped out offensively and on the boards,” Nichols said. “Ontario is a good ballclub that we had to work hard to beat.” Nichols added that his team achieved something special with the win because Burns hadn’t beaten Ontario since 1996.
After trailing by two at the half, Burns outscored Ontario 34-28 over the final two quarters to pull out the win.
1 2 3 4 Final
Bur 14 10 16 18 58
Ont 13 13 13 15 54
The Hilander JV boys basketball team came up with wins over Riverside and Umatilla last weekend to finish with a perfect 10-0 record in league and an 18-3 overall record.
On Friday, Feb. 15, Burns defeated Riverside 58-24.
Zach Dobson-led the way with 11 points and Joe Jarvis added nine.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, Burns downed Umatilla 73-55.
Dylan Thompson had 19 points for Burns, Jarvis dropped in 12 and Carraig Colahan added 11.