Chiawana girls rally for district title

February 9, 2013 

Chiawana girls basketball coach Steve Davis has no idea how many district titles he’s won during his career, but he is most proud of the one his team earned Saturday night.

The Riverhawks rallied past Walla Walla for a 49-46 District 5 Tournament championship victory in Pasco to lock up the No. 1 seed to next weekend’s District 5/8 Tournament.

“This is my favorite district championship. We had a lot of adversity with injuries and the girls battled through it,” Davis said. “They battled through rotational changes and they really wanted it. No one expected us to be able to do it when we lost Danielle Loving at the beginning of the year.”

Chiawana will host Mead at 7 p.m. Friday in the District 5/8 Tournament title game. The winner earns a berth to the Class 4A state regionals, while the loser will face either Walla Walla, Lewis & Clark or Gonzaga Prep for the other regional berth.

On Saturday, the Riverhawks put together a strong fourth quarter to rally for the win, led by Delaney Hodgins and Bianca Gonzales. Walla Walla took a 37-33 lead after three quarters, but Chiawana outscored the visitors 16-9 in the final frame.

Hodgins scored 10 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, including making 6-of-7 free throws. Gonzales only scored three points in the fourth, but she consistently got to the basket and dished the ball off to her teammates.

“The third quarter has been a problem with Walla Walla all year,” Davis said. “We made a little tweak in the offense and were able to get Bianca and Delaney to attack and get into the key a little more. They made some shots and some free throws down the stretch that helped us take the lead.”

Walla Walla led 45-43 on a Madi Doepker layup, but freshman Braydey Hodgins drilled a 3-pointer with 2:35 left to put the Riverhawks on top 46-45.

Gonzales and Doepker then traded free throws to make it 47-46. The teams then traded missed 3-pointers and Delaney Hodgins earned two free throws, making both.

The Blue Devils had one final chance, but Madi Doepker’s 3-pointer rimmed out and Gonzales grabbed the rebound that secures the top spot for the Riverhawks.

Asked if it was Chiawana’s experience that has helped it win three of four games against Walla Walla this season, Davis said “I’m not sure what it is. I’d like to say it is, just because the two kids we go to to finish the game are the kids everyone trusts and are our returning varsity starters.

“But I know it is going to give me a heart attack at a young age if we come out of halftime and continue to give up leads and then have to rally to win games,” he added.

Chiawana led 22-17 at the break, but was outscored 20-11 in the third quarter.

Doepkr and Maddie Sirmon took over in the second half. Neither scored in the first half, but combined for 25 of Walla Walla’s 29 in the third and fourth quarters.

But Sirmon fouled out with 1:23 left and the Blue Devils, who start four sophomores, couldn’t pull out a miracle in the end.

Doepker’s 14 points led Walla Walla, while Sirmon had 11 and Torri Crawford had eight. Doepker added 14 rebounds, while Sirmon had 11.

Braydey Hodgins finished with 11 points — including drilling three 3-pointers. It was a nice bounce back for the younger Hodgins, who was whistled for a foul with no time left in Walla Walla’s one-point victory the last night of the regular season.

Delaney Hodgins added six rebounds and four assists to go with her 22 points.

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