The top-ranked Columbia Basin College women found themselves in a bit of a pickle early in their game against the Peninsula Pirates on Saturday night.
Trailing 13-11 against a Peninsula team that entered the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges women’s basketball championships with the only losing record in the field (11-13), the Hawks used one of their patented offensive explosions to put this game away quickly.
Over a 10-minute period, CBC went on a 25-4 run and the Hawks never trailed again for a 91-49 victory.
CBC (24-4) advances to the quarterfinals at 6 p.m. today, against either Lower Columbia or Chemeketa (they played in the 10 p.m. game Saturday and it had not ended when the paper went to press).
“I thought we came out ready to play,” said CBC coach Cheryl Holden. “There won’t be a lack of preparation or focus with this team, and they put together a great week of practice.”
The Pirates took a 13-11 lead when Gabi Fenumiai banked in a shot just 4 minutes into the contest.
But then began the big Hawks run, started by Sierra Higheagle’s jumper and ending with Kelsey Yenney’s deep trey.
In between, a total of seven CBC players scored in the run.
“We’re really good at finding who’s hitting the three, who’s driving to the basket well,” said CBC point guard Shannon Bland, who scored all of her 8 points in the game in that run. “Sometimes it takes a little bit to find out who’s hot, who’s not.”
Sydney Mercer and Lyndsay Oswalt were two players hot in that run, each scoring 4 points.
“We have the talent and the capabilities to break out like that,” said Mercer. “But I really think it’s our defense that makes us go. Without our defense, our game can only do so much.”
Indeed. During that run, the Hawks forced the Pirates into three shot-clock violations.
For Oswalt, a freshman from Granger, the game is becoming easier to her.
“I just feel like my self from high school,” she said. “College basketball is a big difference from high school learning-wise.”
Coming off the bench, Oswalt finished the game with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. She also shot 7-for-11 from the floor.
Saturday night, it was Mercer, Bland and Oswalt who got the team going. Tonight it could be someone else.
“Sometimes it takes three people at one time, other times it’s two,” said Oswalt. “We can tell who is on, and who is not.”
Higheagle was the team’s high scorer with 17 points, with three 3-point field goals.
Fenumiai finished with 14 to lead Peninsula (11-14), which will play the Lower Columbia-Chemeketa loser at 10 p.m. today.
The Hawks are 25 percent of their way to their goal of winning the tournament title.
“I told them this was the way we wanted to start,” said Holden. “But we’ll play them one game at a time.”
“I guess we enjoy this win tonight,” she said right after the game. “Maybe not even that long, because we’re going to watch our next opponent. Our focus is on our next game.”