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Hawks are looking to soar high again


The team has key returnees from last year's title team

by: DAN BROOD - KEY RETURNEE -- Connor Marleau, shown here at last year's state tournament, is back for the Hawks this season.TUALATIN — The defending Class 3A state champion is going to have a different look this year.

But that certainly doesn’t mean that the Horizon Christian High School boys basketball team has low expectations for the 2013-2014 season — not by any means.

Despite graduating a pair of Class 3A all-state first-team selections from a year ago, including Class 3A Player of the Year Michael Loomis, the Hawks are taking high hopes into the season.

“We will probably be as good as our defense allows us to be,” Horizon coach Dave Brown said. “It will take a while to develop our offense, but the potential is there. We have excellent quickness and guard play. We need our big guys to continue to develop as the year progresses.”

Despite the loss of Loomis, and fellow first-team all-stater Calvin Anderson, the Hawks return four of the top six players from last year’s squad that went 26-2 on the season on the way to winning the school’s third state title in the past four years.

Among those returnees is junior Trent Pihas (5-foot-11) is back at point guard for Horizon Christian.

“He really came on last year and is one of the best in the area,” Brown said.

Senior wing Parker Belan (6-3) starts his third year as a starter for the Hawks.

“He’s a fierce defender,” Brown said.

Horizon’s other two key returnees are senior guard Connor Marleau (6-1) and senior post Isaiah Hall, who were the team’s co-sixth men a year ago. Marleau, stepping in for injured players, had a strong state tournament performance last year.

Among the newcomers to the team are junior guard Noah Jones (5-10) and sophomore post Jace Prinzing (6-4), who are both new to the Horizon Christian program.

“Both will compete to start,” Brown said.

Also in the mix for Horizon Christian are a group of returnees to the program, including junior guard Trent Tillema (5-9), junior guard Colton Cosner (6-0), junior guard Austin Forrester (5-11) and senior post Blake Phillips (6-4).

The Hawks also have interesting prospect in freshman post Nate Ninteman (6-7).

As for the West Valley League this year, Brown sees some strong competition for the top spots. Last year, Horizon tied Dayton for first place, with both teams having 13-1 WVL marks.

“As usual, Dayton will be very good again,” Brown said. “Amity is a new favorite in the WVL. Westside Christian is expected to be good as well. It’s probably the most balanced and deepest WVL in our time in it.”

The Hawks opened their schedule by scoring a 48-33 win over East Linn Christian Academy in a non-league game played Dec. 4 at East Linn Christian.

Pihas led a balanced Horizon scoring attack in the victory with 14 points. Marleau added 12 points and Jones scored nine.

The Hawks will be back in action Monday when they host Horizon Christian of Hood River in a game starting at 7 p.m.