Sadie Sparks had a little extra motivation Saturday night.
The Chiawana senior was stripped of her captain role over Christmas break, but was renamed a captain before Saturday's CBBN 4A showdown with visiting Wenatchee.
Sparks used a dominating first quarter to help the Riverhawks roll to a 67-41 victory.
"I figured now I really have to go lead now that I'm back in this spot," Sparks said.
The power forward had 11 points and six rebounds, including four offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone, helping the Riverhawks jump out to a 24-9 lead after one.
"She has gotten a lot more agressive since Christmas break," Chiawana coach Steve Davis said. "She realized she is the most athletic person on the court and has done a really good job on the offensive boards."
Sparks said it was a slap in the face when she lost the captain's role, but used it as motivation to try and show more leadership to the extremely young Riverhawks. Sparks is one of two seniors on the roster, and only junior Danielle Loving and Sparks saw significant minutes last season.
"I had to pick it up," Sparks said. "It's my senior season, and ever since (losing the captaincy) I've been wanting to play for the team."
Sparks had two putbacks in the first quarter and three wide-open layups, as the Wenatchee defense collapsed on the Chiawana guards, opening up Sparks. Bianca Gonzales added seven points in the quarter.
Sparks wasn't alone Saturday, as Jennifer Gonzales and a host of others contributed to a 3-point barrage that helped stretch the Wenatchee defense which is filled with taller post players.
"They shot the ball well," Wenatchee coach Robin Kansky said. "They were open and they hit it. All their kids contributed. All of them."
Chiawana made 10 3-pointers, as Jennifer Gonzales and freshman Sierra Perez each hit four.
"Everyone is figuring out what they need to do offensively," Davis said. "Everyone is contributing, which is what we need. We don't have a go-to scorer, but we have a bunch of players who can score six to 15 points a night."
The win keeps Chiawana in a tie for first place with Walla Walla and avenges the Riverhawks' lone loss in league play, a 49-45 defeat at the hands of Wenatchee in December.
"We were young and trying to get used to the offense," Sparks said of the loss to Wenatchee. "Now we are seeing that we are good and that we can be league champs."
Sparks finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, missing much of the second half with foul trouble. Jennifer Gonzales and Perez each had 12 points, while Bianca Gonzales and Delaney Hodgins added 11 each. Loving pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Alissa Sealby's eight points and six rebounds led the Panthers, while Michaela George finished with 14 points.
Wenatchee -- Michaela George 3 8-8 14, Lexxi Hallberg 3 0-0 7, Katie Kansky 0 0-1 0, Kara Rockstad 2 0-0 4, Alissa Sealby 3 2-4 8, Kylie Buterbaugh 2 0-0 5, Blake Parker 1 0-2 3, Caitlyn Miller 0 0-0 0, CiCi Stone 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 10-15 41.
Chiawana -- Sadie Sparks 7 1-2 15, Bianca Gonzales 4 2-2 11, Delaney Hodgins 2 6-8 11, Danielle Loving 1 2-4 4, Jennifer Gonzales 4 0-0 12, Sierra Perez 4 0-0 12, Bailey Cartwright 0 0-0 0, Johanna Roach 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 11-16 67.
Wenatchee 9 9 14 9 -- 41
Chiawana 24 8 18 17 -- 67
3-point goals -- Wenatchee 3 (Hallberg, Buterbaugh, Parker), Chiawana 10 (J. Gonzales 4, Perez 4, B. Gonzales, Hodgins). Total fouls -- Wenatchee 14, Chiawana 13. Technical fouls -- Wenatchee, coach Robin Kansky. Rebounds -- Wenatchee 27 (Sealby 6), Chiawana 38 (Loving 10). Turnovers -- Wenatchee 20, Chiawana 16.