WALLA WALLA - The cream rises to the top.
Wa-Hi took the floor in new warmup T-shirts, all of which displayed a No. 6 on the back, in a school sponsored promotion to acknowledge fans as a sixth man here Friday prior to a girls Big Nine Conference Cascade Division basketball battle.
However, No. 14 turned out to be the right number for the Blue Devils on this night.
Jamie Weisner, uniform number 14, rose to the occasion and scored 13 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Blue Devils held off Richland 54-45.
"I decided it was time to start doing something," Weisner said. "My teammates got me the ball."
The Bombers' Katie Mahoney hit consecutive treys to produce the only Bomber lead of the night at 27-24 with 4:15 to play in the third.
Maddie Jacobson's trey, a Jill McDaniels' 3, and a Weisner deuce produced an 8-0 Wa-Hi run and a 34-27 lead two minutes later.
Gabby Anderson added a free throw and a bucket and Wa-Hi took a 37-30 lead to the fourth.
Anderson, on a McDaniels' dish, ran the lead to 39-30 to open the fourth. Then Richland produced a 10-2 run, capped by Jalyn Von Oelhoffen's basket, to get the Bombers within 41-40 with 5:28 to play. Time out Wa-Hi.
"I called that last time out and told them, ‘We have to answer this run, this is the game,'" Blue Devil coach Jill Meliah said. "I told them, ‘Dig deep, focus and get it done.' They responded."
The Blue Devils, out of the time outs, went to a more patient offense.
"We were trying to get down the court and look for a good open shot," Wa-Hi point guard Alicia Baker said. "We wanted to pass it around and make them a little frantic so that they would feel more pressure to shoot the ball."
After being shut down by Richland's Bria Caldwell - seven points over the first three quarters - the patient Wa-Hi offense opened the floor for Weisner.
"She (Caldwell) was playing really tight on me," Weisner said. "She was picking up three quarters of the court, and I couldn't do what I usually do. She played good defense on me."
But Wa-Hi's patient approache gave Weisner room to operate and she responded by scosring 11 of Wa-Hi's final 13 points, including six-of-six from the free throw line, and her trey with 1:11 left gave Wa-Hi what proved to be an insurmountable 50-41 advantage.
"Whenever we need her, Jamie always seems to push and find her shot," Baker said. "No matter how many people are guarding her, she can get it up.
"I try to get the ball up (the court)," Baker said of her point guard duties. "I look for the open player who will (then) do something smart with the ball."
Wa-Hi, behind Andrea Hamada's five points, jumped to an 11-6 lead after one, but with Baker on the bench in foul trouble, Weisner was forced away from the basket to take over ball handling duties, and the Bombers got within 23-21 at the break.
"We felt like they killed us with their transition offense in the second quarter," Meliah said. "It rattled us and got us to be impatient offensively. So, we felt like if we could slow things down, and take a deep breath, we could get better shots. It worked for us (in the fourth)."
Weisner led Wa-Hi to a 40-29 rebounding edge as she completed her double-double with 13 rebounds.
McDaniels and Jacobson both finished with seven points, and Baker handed out four assists. Anderson, Wa-Hi's 6-foot-2 post, finished with her five late and crucial points plus four rebounds.
"We've been working with Gabby on being more aggressive and believing in herself," Meliah said. "I was really proud of Gabby. She stepped up and made some big shots."
Mahoney led the Bombers with 17 points as Richland dropped to 9-3 in the division.
The win completes a season sweep of the Bombers, as Wa-Hi won in Richland 53-47, and moved the Blue Devils within one game of second place at 8-4 going into a Saturday night home game against Chiawana.
"That was a really good win," Meliah said. "I was really proud of the way the girls were able to step up and respond tonight."
RICHLAND (45) - Croskrey 0-1 0-0 0, Machinal 2-5 0-0 4, Von Oelhoffen 4-9 1-4 10, Caldwell 4-7 1-3 9, Sax 1-3 5, Ojeda 0-4 0-2 0, Mahoney 7-10 0-1 17. Totals 19-45 3-13 45.
WA-HI (54) - Baker 1-8 0-0 2, Jacobson 3-6 0-0 7, Weisner 6-15 7-8 20, Jimenez 0-0 2-2 2, Adkins 0-0 0-0 0, McDaniels 3-8 0-0 7, Hamada 2-4 0-0 5, Reardon 2-9 2-2 6, Christensen 0-2 0-0 0, Anderson 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 19-55 12-14 54.
Richland 6 15 9 15 - 45
Wa-Hi 11 12 14 17 - 54
3-point goals - Richland 4-17 (Machinal 0-1, Van Oelhoffen 1-4, Sax 0-1, Ojeda 0-4 Mahoney 3-7), Wa-Hi 4-11 (Jacobson 1-3, Weisner 1-3, McDaniels 1-3, Hamada 1-2). Total fouls- Richlland 13, Wa-Hi 16. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Richland 29 (Sax 7), Wa-Hi 40 (Weisner 13). Turnovers - Richland 10, Wa-Hi 10. Assists - Richland 5 (Ojeda 4), Wa-Hi 10 (Baker 4).