PASCO -- Pasco fans marveled Tuesday night as senior guard Danielle Walter put on a show against crosstown rival Chiawana, matching her career high with 36 points in an eventual 66-56 loss.
What they may not know is what Walter, who leads the CBBN in scoring at 22.6 points per game, has gone through this season in order to continue playing.
Walter has recurring cysts in her lower back that have flared up since her freshman season.
To relieve the pain, she periodically undergoes a procedure called a neurotomy, where doctors go into the spinal cord and burn the sciatic nerve.
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She will undergo another neurtomy in the near future, but until then, she is playing through pain she describes as a 9 on a 1-10 scale.
"Once the adrenaline stops is when it gets to me," Walter said. "After the game, I'm laying down on the floor."
Tuesday's matchup may very well have been a district playoff preview. The Bulldogs travel to Moses Lake tonight and need a win to likely avoid finishing as the Columbia Division's No. 4 seed, while Chiawana is close to clinching the Cascade's No. 1 seed.
-- Anyone who complains about a shot clock need only check out the game film of Saturday's Summit-Hermiston game to understand why it's needed.
Summit won the opening tip, then held the ball the entire first quarter, not attempting a shot until 6 seconds remained in the period. It was no good, and the quarter finished scoreless.
"They had been slowing it down with everybody, which I anticipated," said Bulldogs coach Steve Hoffert. "But we surprised them with a zone, so they pulled the ball out and just played four corners. I figured it'd go for a minute or so. But when it got to the 4-minute mark, I decided we weren't going to start chasing people around."
Hermiston won the game 41-34 over the defending IMC champions, and Hoffert said Summit's slowdown tactics helped the Bulldogs pull the win out.
"We had some kids banged up and nursing some injuries, and that allowed me to keep them in the game," he said.
The Bulldogs remained tied for the IMC lead with a 52-49 win over Pendleton on Wednesday with a team that sports a different look from a year ago.
Last year's team that reached the second round of the Oregon 5A state playoffs was led by Hannah Whitsett, who now starts for Western Oregon after averaging 15.3 ppg.
This year's team has no one scoring in double figures, but about five players in the 7-9 ppg range.
"The girls' motto is, 'I've got your back; you've got mine,' " Hoffert said. "Everyone has confidence in each other to get it done if somebody else isn't."
-- Liberty Christian can wrap up the South Division's top seed to the Southeast 2B district tournament tonight with a road win at Waitsburg-Prescott. The Patriots won the first meeting 64-59 in Richland. ... Southridge can take a big step toward securing the Columbia No. 1 seed Saturday when it travels to Wenatchee, looking to sweep the season series. The Suns won 36-34 in Kennewick earlier this month. ... Kiona-Benton needs a win Saturday at River View to have a shot at avoiding a fourth-place finish in the SCAC East and a first-round district matchup at No. 1-ranked Granger. ... DeSales senior Caitlin Duncan scored her 1,000th career point in last Friday's 54-52 win over Waitsburg-Prescott.