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The Hawks are taking aim at their 12th straight Class 3A state playoff appearance

DAN BROOD - Horizon Christian senior Anthony Sprauer (left) is a returing Class 3A first-team All-State selection. TUALATIN — It seems like somethings never change.

And the Horizon Christian High School boys basketball team is just fine with that.

The Hawks, a year ago, made their 11th straight appearance in the state playoffs. They're looking for more of the same success in the 2017-2018 campaign.

"We are expecting another excellent season," Horizon Christian coach Dave Brown said.

The Hawks return some key players from last year's squad that finished in third place in the final West Valley League standings at 9-5, while going 20-10 on the season.

Among the returnees is senior wing Anthony Sprauer (6-foot-7), who was a Class 3A first-team All-State pick a year ago.

Also back for the Hawks is senior point guard Brady Egger (5-9).

"He will have a great year for us," Brown said.

Horizon Christian also returns a pair of strong outside shooters in junior Travis Schiele (6-1) and junior Kyle Free (6-0).

Junior point guard Tucker Olson (5-8) also returns for the Hawks.

Moving up from Horizon Christian's successful junior varsity team from a year ago are senior Nathan Murrell (6-4) and junior Will Shelby (6-4).

Other player expected to contribute this season are junior Teague Randall (6-1), junior Zach Schreiber (6-4) and senior Brannon MacFarlane (6-1).

Other players on the Horizon Christian varsity roster include sophomore Cade Tillema (5-9), junior Josh Thompson (6-2) and junior Dalen Hosley (6-6).

"We should be a very quick team that can run the floor and rebound well," Brown said. "We have excellent senior leadership and will play very hard."

The Hawks were in the No. 8 spot in the first Class 3A boys basketball coaches poll of the season.

And, they know, as always, they'll find the competition tough in the West Valley League.

"Once again, the West Valley League will be very strong, with Dayton, Amity, Santiam Christian and Willamina all having strong teams," Brown said.

Dayton is in the No. 1 spot in the opening Class 3A coaches poll, and Amity is tied with Portland Adventist Academy for the No. 6 spot.

Horizon Christian opened its season last Thursday with a 54-46 non-league loss at Portland Adventist Academy. On Tuesday, the Horizon lost 56-45 at home in a non-league game with Oregon Episcopal School.

The Hawks will be back in action today (Thursday) when they face Cascade Christian at 6:30 p.m. in a first-round game at the Academy Mortgage Invitational, being held at Westside Christian High School. The tournament runs through Saturday.

On Wednesday, Horizon Christian will host Santiam in a non-league game starting at 7 p.m.

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The Horizon Christian girls team will be playing an independent junior varsity schedule this year.

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