Even though the basketball season ended abruptly for the local high school teams last week, the conference and state tournaments revealed several teams that should see deeper runs next season.
One team really stood out from the pack even though they didn't even get a chance to play in any postseason games.
The Hermiston girls' freshman team was unparalleled in their dominance this season with a 23-0 record and an average margin of victory of 42 points. They scored a total of 1,520 points.
Coach Ron Sivey said this is the best freshman group Hermiston has ever had adding, "They have every position covered on the floor."
Sivey doesn't usually let his girls shoot from behind the arc until mid season, but he said he had to make an exception for this group, which finished 33 percent of the time from long range. The team shot 48 percent total from the field.
Haley Foley led the team in three-pointers attempted and made, going 20-57 and was right on the team average from the field. Jeni Hoffert led the team in three-point shooting, going 14-30.
"They don't take bad shots and when they take a three it is within the offense," Sivey said.
The Dawgs didn't dominate on the three-ball alone. Kayla Blankenship, Callahan Crossley and Gracie Flyg shot 60, 58 and 57 percent from inside the arc on a combined 431 attempts. Flyg was 97 for 171 and Foley led the team with 65 assists while Hoffert, Crossley and Flyg all turned in more than 30.
As hard as it may be to believe, Sivey said their strongest point was actually their defense.
Foley led the team with 90 steals and 65 assists; Crossley had 67 steals and 14 blocks; Blankenship had 57 steals, 15 blocks and 86 rebounds and Cheyanne Lawson turned in 107 rebounds and 31 steals.
"Pressure defense may be our biggest offensive weapon," Sivey said. "All year our defense created offense. When you put that together with athletes that are smart and unselfish you get a team that is very tough to beat."
Matt Entrup is sports editor of the East Oregonian. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.