OROVILLE – The Oroville Hornets hosted the Soap Lake Eagles in their season opener, defeating the visitors 52 to 47.
Although the Hornets led for most of the game it remained close for four quarters. Oroville jumped out to a narrow three-point lead after the first quarter and built it to a four-point lead by halftime going to the locker rooms ahead 27 to 23.
In the third quarter the Eagles shaved a point off the Hornet’s lead going into the fourth down 33 to 36. In the end it came down to four big free throws by Preston Iverson in the last minutes of the fourth quarter to give the Hornets the cushion they need for the win.
“We finally got our first win and it was a big one. We upset heavily favored Soap Lake by attacking the basket and getting them in foul trouble,” said Hornet Coach Carl Iverson. “If we shoot better from the line, we win by about 15. We were 11 for 24 from the line, which we must improve if we are going to win more close games.”
Leading the Hornets in scoring was senior Brandon Funston with 20, followed by fellow senior Blaine Wagner with 12; Preston Iverson with nine; Zack Speiker with seven and Charlie DeMartino with four.
“I was please when Preston Iverson sank four straight free throws in the last 42 seconds to seal the game,” said Coach Iverson. “I was also pleased with our rebounding. Wagner had 11; Speiker, seven; Preston, seven; Funston, six and Charlie DeMartino had a big five rebounds off the bench.”
The Hornet’s next two games are on the road – Tuesday, Jan. 5 against Liberty Bell and Friday, Jan. 8 against Entiat. Their next home game will be against Manson on Friday, Jan. 15.