High School Sports

Chiawana girls settle for second

KENNEWICK -- The Chiawana girls had trouble closing out opponents throughout this week's 4A Eastern Regional basketball tournament.

On Saturday evening at Toyota Center, they finally met a team that took full advantage.

Greater Spokane League champion Mead rallied from a seven-point deficit to force overtime, then outscored the Riverhawks 10-4 in the extra four minutes to pull out a 54-48 victory in the championship game.

"This was a good lesson for us," said Chiawana coach Steve Davis, whose team already had secured a state berth with Friday's semifinal win over Lewis & Clark. "This is what's going to happen to us at state against good teams. We've got to finish games."

Mead won its first regional title since 1992, when Panthers coach Regan Drew was a sophomore on the eventual state champion. It was the first overtime regional final in its 23-year history.

Joining Mead and Chiawana at state next week are Moses Lake and LC. The draw for the state bracket is today in Renton.

The Chiefs (15-12) won their second straight loser-out game, beating Walla Walla 47-41 to advance for the third straight year.

"This is so crazy. I'm so excited right now," said ML junior Jordan Loera, who finished with 27 points, including two free throws with 2:01 left that broke a 39-all tie. "We started out this season so rough, but we wanted to prove to people that we belong here."

The Riverhawks (23-3) had proven all year they belonged, but in regionals, they had watched both Southridge in the first round and then LC whittle into second-half advantages before their rallies fell short.

This time, the Panthers had an answer Chiawana couldn't solve in Gonzaga signee Jazmine Redmon, who scored a game-high 23 points and earned tournament MVP honors.

"We've been in that situation a number of times this year," Drew said. "We've been down to Central Valley, LC twice, but with our speed and athleticism, we're confident we can wear people down and come back."

The Panthers (21-5) chipped away at Chiawana's lead until Redmon hit a runner with 4:56 to play to put them ahead 40-39.

"We played real well defensively until the second half of the fourth quarter," Davis said. "We had some mental breakdowns and didn't have good help defense."

The Riverhawks went back on top on Hayley Hodgins' 15-footer from the left wing with 3:50 to play, and they led 44-42 with 1:18 left on Mikaela Rivard's layin.

Jade Redmon, Jazmine's freshman sister, tied the game with a 12-foot jumper with 27 seconds left, and Hodgins was stripped driving to the basket on Chiawana's final possession.

Kalee Junkermier buried a 3 from the left wing to open the overtime, and Mead never trailed again.

"We were a little tired," said Rivard, who led Chiawana with 16 points. "But Davis runs us enough in practice. We've just got to play the whole game and finish."

The Riverhawks missed three free throws in overtime and finished the game 5-of-14.

They also shot just 32 percent in the second half after going 11-of-21 (52 percent) in the first half, pounding the ball inside repeatedly to Rivard (10 points).

"We have opportunities to make free throws, and we don't make them," Davis said. "We have layups that we don't make. We run plays to get the ball inside, and we don't get it there. That's the type of stuff that hurts you down the stretch."

Shelby Ellsworth added 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, and Hodgins had 10 points for the Riverhawks.

Moses Lake 47, Walla Walla 41

ML coach Matt Strophy said calmly after Friday's win over Southridge that Loera, his star point guard, "won't have two bad games in a row."

For almost three quarters, though, Loera -- who had six points on 2-of-14 shooting vs. the Suns -- again struggled with her shot. She was 5-of-13 and her Chiefs trailed 32-24 after Alicia Baker nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner for Wa-Hi.

That's when Loera decided to start taking the ball to the basket and stop settling for stepback jumpers.

"I was like, 'We're just starting to come together now as a team,' " she said. "I couldn't let our season end here."

She immediately hit a 6-foot runner to start ML's comeback, and her 15-footer with 4:24 to play gave Moses Lake a 36-35 lead.

Wa-Hi (16-10) answered behind its star, sophomore Jamie Weisner, who hit a jumper and then two free throws to put the Blue Devils back on top 39-37 with 3:16 left.

But Loera was too much down the stretch. After Lacey Padilla's runner tied it at 39, Loera scored ML's final eight points -- all at the foul line -- as Wa-Hi threw defenders at her.

"Loera has been in this position before, and she was able to single-handedly lead her team to victory," said Wa-Hi coach Jill Meliah, whose team lost in the winner-to-state game for the second straight year.

Turnovers also did the Blue Devils in. They had eight in the fourth quarter, including four Loera steals, that led to 10 ML points.

"That just shows the level of competitor she is," Strophy said. "I told her to just calm down, that the game would come to you, and it did. She hit crucial shots down the stretch, some free throws, and we also got critical baskets from Lacey."

Weisner finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 23 seconds left. Her three-game total of 78 points tied for third on the tournament's all-time list.

LC 60, Central Valley 37

Devyn Galland scored 13 of her game-high 16 points in the second half as Lewis & Clark (16-9) pulled away from a 22-20 halftime lead to qualify for state for the eighth straight year.

3A: Shadle Park 44, Hanford 38

Morgan Freeman had 13 points and nine rebounds for Hanford, but Shadle Park outscored the Falcons 25-19 in the second half of a 3A regional matchup at Toyota Center.

"The difference was rebounding and free throws," Hanford coach Evan Woodward said. "Shadle Park did a great job and got a few more offensive rebounds, but I give my team kudos for battling hard.

"We came up a little bit short against another team, but we live to fight another day."

Hanford will play West Valley (Yakima) -- which was upset 43-35 by East Valley -- at 5:45 p.m. Friday in a loser-out game in Spokane.