WALLA WALLA - Despite what coach Mindy Flett described as a "slow start," Columbia-Hunters led Echo, Ore., 17-5 after one quarter and never looked back en route to a 69-29 victory in the girls semifinals of the D.A. Davidson Christmas Classic basketball tournament at Sherwood Center Wednesday night.
Krista Colvin and Lindsay Loe, a pair of juniors, scored 23 points as the undefeated Lions rolled to their ninth straight victory. They'll try and make it 10 wins in a row tonight when they meet Odessa-Harrington in the tournament's championship game at 6:30. Odessa-Harrington defeated Valley Christian of Spokane in Wednesday's other semifinal game.
"I know it doesn't look like it, but we started really slow," Flett said. "And we are missing two starters, one who has the flu and another who missed grade check."
Elizabeth Larrew was a third Lion in double figures with 13 points. Loe led the team with 12 rebounds and Colvin finished with nine steals and five assists.
Taylor Tarvin tallied eight points and Katelyn Elligsen and Kristen McCallum added six points each for the Cougars, who saw their record slip to 8-2. Echo met DeSales this morning at 11:30 in a consolation-round game.
Tonight's girls championship game will be a rematch of a Dec. 17 contest between the non-league rivals from the Spokane area. Columbia-Hunters defeated Odessa-Harrington 60-34 in that game.
"They're pretty tough," Flett said of the Titans. "And we'll be missing those two starters, so it could be a different game."
Odessa-Harrington coach Jason Spakousky couldn't agree more after his team improved to 3-4 with Wednesday's victory over Valley Christian.
"I think we are much improved from the first time we played them," Spakousky said. "We are a young team, a new co-op, a new coach ... this is the first time we've all been together, and we are getting better and better with every game.
"They are taller," Spakousky said of the Lions. "But if we can get back on the fast breaks and avoid turnovers and easy baskets, it will be a very close game. They scored a lot of their points on fast-break opportunities the last time. We want to make it more of a half-court game."
Senior Lacey Hirst scored 17 points to lead the Titans in Wednesday's semifinal victory. But it was Lexi Watkins' defensive hustle in the fourth quarter that keyed the victory, Spakousky said.
"She had four steals in a four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter when we went on a 17-0 run," the coach said of Watkins. "Hirst scored eight of her points in that quarter, and most of them came off from the steals and assists that Watkins got."
Justyne Talkington added nine points for O-H while Lindsay Riggan paced Valley Christian with six points.
Valley Christian slipped to 2-6 on the year and meets Weston-McEwen this afternoon at 3 in the consolation braket.
C-H 69, Echo 29
COLUMBIA-HUNTERS (69) - K. Colvin 23, Loe 23, Larrew 13, A. Flett, A. Colvin, K. Flett 8, Hart, Morado, Jones 2.
ECHO (29) - Souza 5, T. Tarvin 8, Lancaster, K. Elligsen 6, Round, McCallum 6, Marcum, H. Tarvin, L. Elligsen 4.
Columbia-Hunters 17 17 17 18 - 69
Echo 5 13 2 9 - 29
O-H 39, Valley Christian 18
VALLEY CHRISTIAN (18) - Segalla, Tobish, Ayala, Swank, La. Riggan 1, Heden, Li. Riggan 6, Westberg 2, Bogart 5, Walzer 4.
ODESSA-HARRINGTON (39) - Moffet, Marshall, Talkington 9, Hirst 17, Davison 5, Watkins 4, Smith 2, Todd, Whitaker 2, Brown.
Valley Christian 6 2 5 5 - 18
Odessa-Harrington 7 11 3 18 - 39