HERMISTON — Ivan Rangel and Trent Pitney were part of a freshman class at Hermiston High School that had 14 promising basketball players.
Rangel and Pitney are the only two left of the group, and they finished their high school careers Friday night with 12 points each in an 87-57 Mid-Columbia Conference loss to Walla Walla at the Dawg House.
“To think if all of us had stayed,” Rangel said after the loss. “It was nice while it lasted. It’s bittersweet, but now it’s back to work, college and adulting.”
First-year Hermiston coach Drew Preuninger said the season went by way too fast.
“I told them this summer, before you know it, the season will start,” he said. “And now it’s over. It’s crazy. Being a competitor, I wish it wasn’t over.”
While the Bulldogs (2-18, 1-15 MCC) finished their season, the Blue Devils (16-4, 12-4 MCC) will host a District 8 playoff game Wednesday.
The Blue Devils got off to a hot start, finishing the first quarter with a 22-8 lead.
“There aren’t many shots they don’t like,” Wa-Hi coach Adam Berg said of his team. “When we get the right looks, it’s a good night.”
The Blue Devils led 47-24 at the half, and despite an even third quarter, the Bulldogs could not make up the deficit in the fourth.
Rangel, who fouled out with 4:21 left in the game, scored all of his points in the first three quarters.
He said it was a tough night for him, not having his mom (Veronica Ortiz) with him as he finished his career. She died Dec. 21, 2017.
“I just dreamed of my mom being here when we were being introduced,” Rangel said. “She is my motivation. She played basketball in Mexico — I got it from her.”
Senior AJ Ramos-Barron added 10 points for the Bulldogs, while junior Miguel Moreno had 10.
“That was one of Miguel’s better games,” Preuninger said. “He does a lot of good things for us.”
Diego Jaquez led the Blue Devils with 24 points, while Michael Cornia added 22.
The Bulldogs lose four seniors from this year’s team, but will return key contributors like Moreno, Chase Elliott, Tyler Lin, Jayden Ramirez and Jaime Ramirez.
“I think Hermiston basketball has a bright future,” Preuninger said. “We just need to make sure they are doing the right things and getting in the weight room.”