WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla girls basketball team may have played its best game to date Friday night against Richland, beating the Bombers 72-40 in the Mid-Columbia Conference district championship game in Walla Walla.
But the Blue Devils are hoping to bring another big game for the MCC district championship game at 6 p.m. today at Chiawana.
“We had four girls in double digits. I really think this was one of our most complete games this year,” Wa-Hi coach Jill Meliah said.
Richland coach Cindy McCoy would agree after playing the Blue Devils competively in two previous losses — 60-50 on Jan. 11 and 39-33 on Jan. 31.
In this one, however, the Bombers couldn’t match Walla Walla’s intensity or size.
Despite the fact that Richland had the two tallest players on the floor — 6-foot-1 Gia Sorn and 6-foot Hailey Turner — the Blue Devils had a big size advantage at the guard position. Once Turner or Sorn got sealed off inside, it was an easy job for Walla Walla guards to get the ball into the paint.
“We were giving up 5 inches. We were trying to change defenses, but our rotations weren’t quite there,” McCoy said.
When the Blue Devils weren’t scoring inside, they were hitting from the outside. Wa-Hi finished with 42 points in the paint, but also hit 7 of 11 from 3-point range.
“They were making shots inside and out. A team like this, if you’re not scoring and they can, you’re in trouble,” McCoy said. “The last time we played them, they weren’t hitting. At halftime tonight, they were at 65 percent (15-for-23).”
The Blue Devils finished 29 of 50 (58 percent), while the Bombers finished 13-of-53 (24.5 percent).
Mikayla Ferenz led all scorers with 21 points, hitting 5 of 10 from the field and 5 of 5 from the free throw line. Madi Doepker benefited from several of the lob passes and didn’t take them for granted.
“We came out all heart today. We were just constant adrenaline,” Doepker said. “I haven’t had a lot of (points inside) lately, but I was getting some great passes inside. It was a good chance for me.”
Walla Walla led 19-11 after one quarter but used 8-0 and 9-3 runs in the second quarter to take control.
The Bombers missed their first seven shots of the second quarter, falling behind 27-11 on a long jumper by Jacie McDaniels.
Walla Walla led 36-19 to begin the third quarter and Mikayla Ferenz y to converted a three-point play to spark a 7-3 run that made it 41-22.
Kennedy Corrigan, a four-year starter for Richland, finished her high school career the right way, leading the team with 12 points. Five of them came down the stretch, as Corrigan buried her final 3-pointer with 2:53 left in the game.
A minute later, she drove the lane for a scoop shot.
But by then, the game was well out of reach at 72-38.
“Kennedy has been a four-year varsity player at point guard. She does so many things for us. Our biggest challenge next year is filling her role,” McCoy said. “Those are going to be big shoes to fill.”
RICHLAND — McCormick 5, Catone 8, Kamri Von Oelhoffen 11, Kennedy Corrigan 12, Turner 4, Perry, Hiller, Sorn, Browner. Totals 13-53 8-10 40
WALLA WALLA — Hodnefield 3, Mikayla Ferenz 21, Maddy Sirmon 12, Madi Doepker 17, K.Ferenz 11, Davis, Kennedy, Molitor 3, McDaniels 2, Hogan 3. 29-50 7-11 72.
Richland 11 8 10 11 — 40
Walla Walla 19 17 21 15 — 72
Highlights — 3-pointers: R 6-18 (Corrigan 2), WW 7-11 (M.Ferenz 2, K.Ferenz 2); Rebounds: R 29 (Hailey Turner 7), WW 36 (Sirmon 7, Doepker 7); Turnovers:: R 16, WW 14; Hodnefield 3 steals; Von Oelhoffen 3 steals.