After a slow start to the season, the Chiawana girls basketball team is on a roll.
Playing stifling defense Tuesday, the Riverhawks won their 11th consecutive game, hammering rival Richland 59-28 in Mid-Columbia Conference action at Art Dawald Gymnasium.
Since a pair of early-season losses to Moses Lake and Coeur d’Alene, Chiawana has rarely been challenged.
“I think it is one of those things where we came into the season and the girls were pretty hyped up about wanting to get back to the state tournament,” Chiawana coach Steve Davis said, “but I don’t think we were focused on the little things that we needed to focus on.
“We did not play a defensive game up (at Moses Lake) and it kind of opened the girls’ eyes real quick at the start of the season.”
A big part of the early-season struggles was also melding in new players, as Kendra Winchester transferred in from Shadle Park in Spokane and immediately became a starter.
“The first game (vs. Moses Lake), we just didn’t play together,” Braydey Hodgins said. “We were all over the place and people were playing for themselves. We needed to work Kendra in, she was new, and we’ve started to do that and it has been working.”
Winchester is definitely part of the team now, and the Riverhawks are starting to put things together.
“It was definitely a wakeup,” Winchester said. “We started working a lot harder and realizing we need to play the best we can every game.”
On Tuesday, the Riverhawks didn’t play their best offensively, but they were superb defensively.
Chiawana allowed just one field goal in the first half, giving up only seven points in the first 16 minutes and forcing eight turnovers taking a 24-7 lead into halftime.
“As much as we weren’t putting the ball in the basket, if we can play defense like that we will still be OK,” Davis said.
In the third quarter, the Riverhawks started clicking in all facets, outscoring the Bombers 21-10.
“They can keep you from driving, yet are tall with a long reach,” Richland coach Cindy McCoy said of the Riverhawks. “It is awful hard. They play off of you but yet contest the shot. That is difficult for our shorter girls, but we had some open looks that we just didn’t hit.”
McCoy was happy with her team’s defensive effort in the first half, but it was simply overwhelmed in the third quarter.
“You miss some shots and then it puts so much pressure on your defense,” she said. “A team like that, you can’t hold them down forever.”
Braydey Hodgins and her older sister Delaney made sure of that.
The pair combined to score Chiawana’s first 16 points, teaming up for 28 on the night.
Braydey, the point guard, played a stellar all-around game, finishing with six assists, five steals and four rebounds to go along with her nine points.
“That is what we expect from Braydey,” Davis said. “We want her to test it early to see if she can get some layups and some fouls and that wasn’t happening. So she went to some other things and started distributing the ball to other people and defensively she did a great job.”
The Riverhawks took control of the game with an early 16-2 run that stretched nearly the entire first half. Chiawana held Richland to just seven field goals on the night.
Bailey Cartwright added 10 points and nine rebounds for Chiawana, while Winchester had six points and seven rebounds, and Molly Sullivan (4) and Cierah Alferness (6) also provided help on the glass.
Kamri Von Oelhoffen and Kayla Catone each scored eight to lead the Bombers.
CHIAWANA — Braydey Hodgins 3 2-2 9, Bailey Cartwright 2 5-6 10, Delaney Hodgins 7 4-4 19, Darbi Pink 1 0-0 3, Molly Sullivan 2 1-3 5, Kendra Winchester 3 0-0 6, Jennifer Gonzales 1 0-0 3, Cierah Alferness 1 0-0 2, Bernadette Roach 1 0-0 2, Shaelynn Logozzo 0 0-0 0, Adelina Guzman 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 12-15 59.
RICHLAND — Kamri Von Oelhoffen 2 3-4 8, Sarah McCormick 0 0-0 0, Hailey Turner 1 2-2 4, Kayla Catone 1 6-6 8, Kennedy Corrigan 2 2-2 6, Gia Sorn 0 0-0 0, DJ Camp 1 0-0 2, Ally Perry 0 0-1 0, Sarah Hiller 0 0-0 0, Payton Bower 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 13-15 28.
Chiawana 12 12 21 14 — 59
Richland 4 3 10 11 — 28
3-point goals—Chiawana 5 (B. Hodgins, Cartwright, D. Hodgins, Pink, Gonzales), Richland 1 (Von Oelhoffen). Rebounds—Chiawana 52 (Cartwright 9), Richland 28 (Turner 6). Assists—Chiawana 11 (B. Hodgins 6), Richland 2 (Corrigan 2). Steals—Chiawana 12 (B. Hodgins 5), Richland 3. Blocks—Chiawana 4 (Cartwright 3), Richland 2. Turnovers—Chiawana 14, Richland 14. Personal fouls—Chiawana 14, Richland 12. Fouled out—Von Oelhoffen