By René Ferrán
SBLive Oregon is breaking down more than 100 Oregon high school basketball teams. Here’s our look at the Hood River Valley Eagles boys of the Class 5A Intermountain Conference.
Chris Dirks, fifth season (41-49)
2019-20 AT A GLANCE
Overall record: 12-10
League record: 5-5 (fourth in Intermountain)
ALL-LEAGUE PLAYERS DEPARTED
G Noah Webster, first team
PLAYERS TO WATCH
F Ian Searcy, Sr., 6-5
Searcy, an all-Intermountain honorable mention selection as a junior who averaged 10.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, suffered an injury during baseball season that could sideline him for most of the basketball season. When healthy, he’ll be the team’s primary scoring option. “At 6-5 from the wing position with a good three-point shot (32.5 percent), he is a threat to score all over the court,” Dirks said. “We hope to get him back soon.”
G Emanuel Romero, Jr., 5-9
Romero took over the starting point guard job as a sophomore and had a solid first varsity season, averaging 10 points, 2.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 34 percent from three-point range. “He eats, sleeps and breathes basketball, and it shows,” Dirks said. “We are happy to have him back this year.”
F Jack Siekkinen, Sr., 6-1
Siekkinen is a four-year varsity player who has started each of the past two seasons. Dirks called him the team’s best rebounder — he averaged 5.6 boards per game to go with 6.7 points last season — and the hardest worker on the floor.
F Davis Yates, Sr., 6-4
Yates is a transfer from Washington, where he was a multiple-year starter. Dirks expects him to contribute big minutes in the post and take some of the rebounding burden off Siekkinen’s shoulders. “He is a strong, dynamic threat inside,” Dirks said.
G Geoffrey Shoaf, Jr., 5-10
Shoaf swung between JV and varsity last season, playing in 11 varsity games and averaging 1.5 points. Dirks expects him to battle all season for a starting job. “He is an aggressive defender and can get himself going from three,” Dirks said.
After the Eagles ended a 25-year playoff drought in 2019, they finished with double-digit wins and a plus-.500 record in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the early 1990s, although they fell short of making a postseason return.
“At the end of the day, we finished with a winning record, and as this program continues to gain momentum and become a competitor every year, winning seasons are very important,” Dirks said.
They graduated Webster, who led the team in scoring, rebounding and assists, and Dirks said it will take a team effort to replace his production. While Searcy recovers from his baseball injury, they’ll count on Romero, Siekkinen and Yates to pick up the slack.
“This season is unlike any other for every team that will be competing. The focus is still going to be on winning an IMC championship. I believe that is a realistic goal, but I also believe it is up for grabs. Every team is going to have to deal with adversity — COVID issues, players finishing Season 3, injuries. I think the team that handles all of it the best will win our conference.” — Chris Dirks