PASCO -- Chiawana's Melanie Valdez doesn't generally get a lot of accolades.
Known more for her defense and running the point for the potent Riverhawks attack, Valdez got a rare opportunity to show off her offensive skills Saturday.
Valdez scored 10 points as Chiawana (19-2) destroyed visiting Walla Walla 67-25 in a CBBN 4A district tournament semifinal Saturday.
"When you aren't one of the ones who normally scores and then you do score, everyone cheers really loudly, so that was fun," said Valdez, laughing. "No one cares about how many assists you get, just how many points you score. So when I go home, I will get to talk some trash because I scored eight points or whatever."
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All joking aside, Valdez's scoring provides just another weapon for opposing teams to worry about. While Valdez hit two 3-pointers and used her dribble penetration to make a couple of mid-range jumpers, it also stretched the Walla Walla defense, helping to free Hayley Hodgins and Mikaela Rivard even more than normal.
"Melanie normally just delegates the offense," Chiawana coach Steve Davis said. "We wanted her to be more aggressive tonight, and she played great. Hopefully she can continue to do that."
Valdez's points were the second most she scored in a game this season -- she scored 11 in a win against Davis. Kendyl Reynolds also attacked the basket more, adding four points including a nice runner at the first-half buzzer.
"Me and Kendyl don't really score that much," Valdez said. "Normally we just take care of the others, screen and pass the ball. I don't really mind. I like defense, but it's nice to score."
With the game rarely in doubt, the Riverhawks worked on some new offensive wrinkles and played much better defense than in some recently games.
Walla Walla took a 5-3 lead with 5:52 left in the first quarter before Chiawana closed the half on a 32-4 run.
The victory means Chiawana will play for the district championship at home Friday, playing host to either Moses Lake or Richland at 7 p.m.
"I told the girls the countless hours we've spent in the gym and all the suicides we ran are for what's coming up," Davis said. "These are the games we need to take care of. This is what we play for."
If Saturday was any indication, then the Riverhawks have a chance to be playing for another three weeks.
While Walla Walla coach Jill Meliah wasn't happy with the final score, she was encouraged with her team's play, especially in the second half.
The Blue Devils (10-12) were coming off an upset win at Wenatchee on Friday and didn't get home until midnight, which may have accounted for a lot of the missed shots in the first half.
Either way, the Blue Devils are just happy to be playing another week.
"We went into this looking at it like a practice game," Meliah said. "We're happy to be here and we played hard.
"It's very evident to me that we are getting better and we are growing as the season has progressed."
Walla Walla will play at either Moses Lake or Richland in an elimination game at 7 p.m. Friday.
Hodgins' 19 points led Chiawana, while Rivard added 13 points. Sadie Sparks had eight points and five rebounds.
WALLA WALLA -- Kiana Molitor 2 5-5 9, Jaiden Hodnefield 1 0-0 3, Madeline Jacobson 1 0-1 2, Jami Klicker 0 2-2 2, Libbie Jiminez 0 0-0 0, Gabby Anderson 0 1-2 1, Andrea Hamada 2 0-0 5, Torri Crawford 1 0-0 2, Allie Greene 0 1-2 1, Sydney Christensen 0 0-0 0, Megan Thompson 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 9-12 25.
CHIAWANA -- Hayley Hodgins 7 3-3 19, Sadie Sparks 4 0-0 8, Mikaela Rivard 5 0-0 13, Bianca Gonzales 1 0-0 3, Melanie Valdez 3 2-2 10, Kendyl Reynolds 2 0-0 4, Shelby Ellsworth 0 0-0 0, Danielle Loving 0 0-0 0, Jessica Gonzales 1 0-0 3, Delaney Hodgins 3 0-0 7, Shelby English 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 5-5 67.
Walla Walla 7 2 12 4 -- 25
Chiawana 19 16 18 14 -- 67
3-point field goals -- Walla Walla 2 (Hodnefield, Hamada), Chiawana 10 (Rivard 3, H. Hodgins 2, Valdez 2, B. Gonzales, J. Gonzales, D. Hodgins). Total fouls -- Walla Walla 7, Chiawana 12. Rebounds -- Walla Walla 25 (Christensen 4), Chiawana 31 (Sparks 5). Turnovers -- Walla Walla 26, Chiawana 12.
* Craig Craker: 509-582-1509; firstname.lastname@example.org