RICHLAND — For three quarters Friday night, the Hanford boys basketball team was having it easy in their 61-57 win over visiting Chiawana.
Shooting at a 54-percent clip, the Falcons were filling up the basket with enough 3-pointers (6) to force the Riverhawks to stretch their zone against Hanford's considerable size advantage inside.
That shooting even allowed the Falcons to maintain a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter despite getting throttled on the offensive boards by the scrappy 'Hawks, who piled up 18 offensive rebounds compared to Hanford's eight.
But life got a lot harder in the fourth quarter for the Falcons.
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Whether it was Chiawana stepping up the defensive pressure or Hanford just feeling the pressure of the moment, the Falcons missed their first five shots to give the Riverhawks a chance to pull within two.
But a couple of second-chance baskets of their own -- including a third-chance hustle score by Aaron Neary -- got the Falcons back on track, and Marcus Manderbach drained 3 of 4 free throws in the final 37 seconds to hold on.
"It got a little tight," said Hanford coach Paul Mayer. "Chiawana, give them credit. They didn't stop playing hard.
"We were fortunate to get a win giving up that many offensive rebounds."
The final tally on the offensive glass for the Riverhawks was 25 compared to the Falcons' 11, creating a huge advantage in shots (73 to 47) for Chiawana.
However, the visitors hit just 31 percent from the floor -- perhaps too often utilizing a "throw it up until something sticks" approach -- while Hanford finished at 49 percent despite a 3-for-10 final quarter.
"Our kids are getting much better through the year at being aggressive on the offensive and defensive boards," said Chiawana coach Chad Herron. "We've talked about on nights when you're not shooting well, you have to get the offensive rebounds and you have to keep up the defensive intensity."
That message, said sophomore swingman Miquiyah Zamora, has come through loud and clear.
"We realize that second-chance shots are what will help us win."
Pete Zachara led Hanford (5-2, 2-1 Cascade) with 15 points. Aaron Neary added 12 points and 13 boards, and freshman point guard Jalen DeVine scored nine points and spent all night chasing after his counterpart, Justin Smith.
Smith led Chiawana (3-6, 1-3) with 17 points, including three straight baskets that pulled his team to within a bucket midway through the fourth. Zamora added 13 points and nine boards for the Riverhawks, who had all five starters pull down at least five rebounds.
"It's going to be a lot of fun having these kids around the next couple of years," Herron said.
Justin Smith 17, Walter 12, DeWitt 6, Downing 9, Zamora 13, Graff, Lopaya. Totals 23-73 9-16 57.
Pete Zachara 15, Manderbach 9, DeVine 9, Neary 12, Haynes 10, Rueter 4, Bowser, Nash 2. Totals 23-47 9-14 61.
Chiawana 15 14 12 16 — 57
Hanford 17 19 15 10 — 61
Highlights — Chia 38 rebs (25 offensive); Han 35 rebs (11 offensive); Miquiyah Zamora 9 rebs; Aaron Neary 13 rebs; Chia 7 TOs, Han 15 TOs.