WALLA WALLA - It appears the University of Oregon knew what it was doing when it signed Moses Lake's Jordan Loera to a Division I girls basketball scholarship.
The Columbia Basin Big Nine 4A game was not 10 seconds old when Loera drained a 3, handed out an assist a minute later, hit a pull up jumper at the 5:55 mark, and capped a 12-0 Chief run with another trey with 4:58 left in the quarter. Loera scored eight of the first 12 for Moses Lake and the Chiefs went on to post a 67-43 win over Wa-Hi Saturday.
"Last night (a 61-60 win over Chiawana) was a great win for us, but tonight was a totally new game," Loera said. "We wanted to come out with fire and leave it all on the court. It feels good when you hit your first shot, and my coaches encourage me to look for my shot more often."
Torri Crawford scored on a Jami Klicker feed to get the Blue Devils on the board at 12-2 with 3:32 left in the quarter.
The Chiefs behind Loera's eight points and three assists, forced six Wa-Hi turnovers and led 19-8 after one.
"We were a little nervous," Wa-Hi coach Jill Meliah said of the first period. "We settled down. It's one of those mentality things that we've got to keep working on that we can compete. And we can."
Wa-Hi opened the second on an 8-4 run and cut the Chief lead to 23-16 after a Klicker bucket. The Chiefs hit six consecutive free throws and Loera hit a jumper and handed out an assist as Moses Lake closed the quarter on a 13-3 run to take a 36-19 lead to intermission.
Gabby Anderson went to work for Wa-Hi in the third period. Anderson scored eight of her team-high 13 in the period and Wa-Hi won the quarter 13-11 to cut the Chief lead to 47-32 after three.
"Gabby had a great game," Meliah said. "She really attacked their big girl (6-4 Kayla Bernsen) and got her in foul trouble (Bernsen fouled out with 1:49 left in the game)."
The Blue Devils got as close as 38-26 following two free throws from Anderson with 4:10 left in the quarter, but Loera promptly stuck a trey for a 41-26 lead and Wa-Hi got no closer.
"Every time we would pull (closer), Jordan (Loera) would take over," Meliah said. "That's why she is one of the top players in the state."
Loera led the Chiefs to a 2-0 league mark with a game-high 20 points, 15 in the first half, as she looked to set up her teammates in the second half and finished with six assists.
"As the season goes on, we're going to need more from our other players," Loera said of the Moses Lake second half. "We needed to get everyone involved and looking for their shot."
Crawford finished with nine for Wa-Hi, Libbie Jimenez drained two treys and finished with eight and Sydney Christensen pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
"We just kept going at them," Meliah said. "They are a good team. The way we played tonight, we did a lot of good things. We showed that we can compete with other teams in our league.
"Our guards handled the pressure a lot better tonight," Meliah said. "Libbie stepped up and found her shot. There are a lot of positives to pull out, We're getting better. It's not going to show in our wins and loses right now, but it's showing on the court."
Wa-Hi hosts Kamiakin in a non-league game Wednesday.
Moses Lake 67, Wa-Hi 43
MOSES LAKE (67) - Gamez 4-10 2-3 10, Loera 7-14 2-2 20, Kunjara 2-4 0-1 4, Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Gentry 2-2 0-0 5, Sanders 1-2 0-0 3, Munoz 4-8 3-4 11, Bernsen 4-10 3-5 11, Nielsen 0-0 3-4 3, Olson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-52 10-19 67.
WA-HI (43) - Klicker 2-4 0-0 5, Crawford 3-8 3-8 9, Jimenez 2-8 2-2 8, Christensen 1-4 1-1 3, Greene 2-7 0-0 4, Hamada 0-1 1-2 1, Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 4-8 5-9 13. Totals 14-40 12-22 43.
Moses Lake 19 17 11 20 - 67
Wa-Hi 8 11 13 11 - 43
3-point goals - ML 6-11 (Loera 4-7, Kunjara 0-1, Gentry 1-1, Sanders 1-2), Wa-Hi 3-8 (Klicker 1-2 Jimenez 2-6). Total fouls- ML 18, Wa-Hi 17. Fouled out- ML (Bernsen). Technical fouls-none. Rebounds- ML 34 (Loera 7), Wa-Hi 32 (Christensen 9). Turnovers- ML 9, Wa-Hi 20. Assists- ML 16 (Loera 6), Wa-Hi 9 (Klicker 3, Jimenez 3).