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Jansen Edmiston guards a shot by Darian Lindsey. (Photo/EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — After blowing up the Bucks by nearly 40 points in their game in Hermiston 10 days ago, the middle match in a set of three this season, the Bulldogs knew better than to expect a similar showing on Friday in Pendleton.

But a 21-10 hole half way through the second quarter? Even that was a little surprising.

Hermiston narrowed the gap to 23-17 by halftime and drove its way to the basket for 33 second-half points in a 50-40 Columbia River Conference victory at Warberg Court to complete the sweep of its rival.

“We knew it’s their home so they’re going to be making shots that they normally don’t,” Hermiston’s Mckenzie Byrd said. “We needed to keep that in mind and keep our composure. We got a little rattled at first but I think we picked it up in the end.”


 
 
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Joel Boozer and Alex Ortiz go for a rebound. (Photo/EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — The games of the Umatilla County rivalry series between Hermiston and Pendleton have featured some of the tightest contests of either teams’ schedules, games so close a single possession could have warped the outcome.

On Friday, the Bucks finally got one to swing their way.

The Pendleton boys held off Hermiston with a reliable string of free throws and dodged a pair of Bulldog 3-point attempts in the final 10 seconds to a avoid a season sweep. The Bucks’ 55-52 victory at Warberg Court wrapped the regular season for both squads and will likely keep Pendleton’s campaign alive — at least for now.

The Bucks (11-11, 5-4 CRC), ranked 23rd by the OSAA going into the game, had to avoid falling out of the top 24 to have any shot at the postseason. The 24 teams advance to the play-in round of the Class 5A state playoffs, but may get bumped by a league champion ranked below the line.


 
 
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Tyler Berger takes down a Pendleton wrestler. (Photo/EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PORTLAND — A year after finishing second-runner up at the Class 5A wrestling state championships, Hermiston is looking like a program with vengeance in mind.

The 2013 Bulldogs have drilled dual opponents and trounced tournament fields on their way to their regional wrestling tournament this weekend at Portland’s Marshall High School. Along the way, the Dawgs have picked up steam and the kind of state-wide attention that has the school favored for not only a district championship — an accomplishment that’s become commonplace around Hermiston — but a state title.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


HERMISTON — With the wrestling postseason looming, the Hermiston Bulldogs are starting to get the itch. Tournament time offers the opportunity for redemption, a chance to reclaim the top spot in the state and rule over Class 5A once again.

“I can barely focus on school, let alone anything else,” Hermiston’s Tyler Berger said. “I mean all my time, I’m going up in the wrestling room, constantly visualizing myself in the state finals match and getting that championship as a team again.


 
 
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Bulldog Jansen Edmiston dribbles. (Photo/Randy Thompson)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


HERMISTON — Hermiston’s Heidi Walchli sunk her first free throw with a pleasing swish. Seconds later, she capped the trip to the line with another. As the Bulldogs’ senior trotted back to half court to transition to defense, a resounding message came from the Hermiston student section:

“It’s all over. It’s all over. It’s all over,” the boisterous crowd chanted.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


HERMISTON — Hermiston 2, Pendleton 0.

The Bulldogs took the second of three installments in the Umatilla County rivalry series on Tuesday, a game very deserving of an overtime. But the Bulldogs wouldn’t allow a fifth period.

Guarding a three-point lead with 12.1 seconds left in the game, Hermiston clamped down on Pendleton’s full-court drive, forcing the Buckaroos’ best outside shooting threat, Quincy George, into a contested and hurried jumper from long range. The basketball caromed off the glass and the rim, a scoreboard in the background showing no time remaining.

The Dawgs had prevailed 49-46.


Hermiston's Ramon Contreras drives against Pendleton's Tommy Lane. (Photo/Cassie White)

 
 
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Pendleton swim coach Donna Collins
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — When Pendleton’s Donna Collins was named the Class 5A swim coach of the year following the Buckaroos’ 2011-12 season last spring, she was excited. When that honor led to a broader award given out by the National Federation of State High School Associations, the word “excited” no longer did her situation justice.

Ecstatic was more like it.

“I’d say this is right up at the top of as excited as I can be,” said Collins, a 21-year Pendleton High swim coach.


 
 
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By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


HILLSBORO — Behind three champions and nine placers overall, the Hermiston Bulldogs wrestling team distanced itself from all other programs at the 2013 Reser’s Tournament of Champions this weekend, taking first overall by a wide margin.

Hermiston finished with 221 points, nearly 80 ahead of Crook County in the team standings. Sweet Home was a close bronze placing.


 
 
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Pendleton's Joel Boozer, left, and Quincy George. (Photo/EJ Harris)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


PENDLETON — Gone from Pendleton is arguably the greatest center in the school’s history, the record breaker, the rock wall.

Gone is play-making dynamo at guard, the lightning passer and slam dunker, the East Oregonian’s reigning Player of the Year.

Gone too are the other six seniors that graced the Buckaroo boys’ basketball team’s roster last winter, graduated right along with Bryan Beard and Deon Davis.

From the rubble of the 2011-12 varsity lineup, though, a new group has emerged from the shadows, led again by a point guard and a post. Senior Quincy George and junior Joel Boozer highlight a group once boxed out by the depth and talent of that departed senior class. They’ve gone from the bodies that filled out the bench to the new go-tos.

It’s their team now.


 
 
PictureHermiston's Tyler Berger won the OWC last week. (Photo/Brenda Berger)
By AJ MAZZOLINI
East Oregonian


A week after blowing through the Oregon Wrestling Classic field in Redmond, the Hermiston Bulldogs will join fellow Columbia River Conference institution Pendleton in Hillsboro today and Saturday for the midseason climax: The Reser’s Tournament of Champions.

“The Reser’s is one of the toughest in the state of Oregon, well probably the toughest because it’s all levels,” Hermiston assistant coach Rob Berger said. “It’s one of those tournaments we look at on paper as one you definitely want to win.”