Blue Devil boys move step closer to division title, clip Chiawana

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Wa-Hi's Ryan James (No. 32) inadvertently heads the rebound into the hands of teammate Michael Weisner (back) in the midst of a trio of Chiawana Riverhawks during first-period action Saturday.

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Wa-Hi's Colton Arias made a side-flying effort on an out-of-bounds bound ball and flicked it to teammate Jake Aguiar for the save Saturday during 1st period action against Chiawana.

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Michael Weisner toes the sideline.

WALLA WALLA - Michael Weisner scored 25, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out seven assists to lead Big Nine Conference Cascade Division-leading Wa-Hi to a 71-60 victory over Chiawana in boys high school basketball action Saturday night in the Blue Devil gym.

Gary Winston added 22 points as Wa-Hi, ranked fifth in the latest Class 4A state poll, improved to 11-2 in league and 16-3 overall.

Weisner and Winston were a combined 7-of-10 from 3-point distance.

This triumph occurred just one night after the Blue Devils suffered a heartbreaking 67-65 loss at Richland.

"After an emotional loss, it was important to get a win," said Weisner, who eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau for his career with a 34-point effort against Eisenhower on Jan. 29. He was honored for his achievement prior to Saturday's tip.

"Over the last four weeks, we've played tough games on Friday, and every Saturday we've come to play," Wa-Hi coach John Golden said. "It's been a tough schedule, but our guys have rallied and been focused. That's senior leadership right there."

Though Weisner and Winston did a majority of the scoring, it was Jake Aguiar and Colton Arias that staked the Blue Devils to a 6-0 lead by the 6:17 mark of the opening quarter with a 3-point field goal and a three-point play, respectively.

A Jordan Dawning drive with 4:01 remaining capped a 10-4 run by the Riverhawks and evened things up at 10-10.

The Blue Devils took a 14-10 lead after back-to-back drives by Weisner and Arias before Chiawana ended the period with an 8-3 spurt. Dawning scored in the lane with 1:30 on the clock to give the Riverhawks an 18-17 edge, an advantage they would take into the second quarter.

Wa-Hi appeared poised to seize control of the contest when it outscored Chiawana 16-6 in the first six minutes of period two. A Weisner 3 at the 2:19 mark gave Wa-Hi a 33-24 lead.

But the Riverhawks ended the half with another 8-3 surge and drew within four, 36-32, by intermission.

"They were hitting good shots and our defense wasn't that good," Weisner said. "We were getting beaten off of the dribble."

Winston and Weisner connected on back-to-back 3s in the first 41 seconds of the third quarter to register the Blue Devils' first 10-point margin of the night, 42-32.

Those early treys would prove to be a harbinger of bad times for Chiawana.

The lead ballooned to 17, 61-44, on a free-throw-line follow by Matt Watson as time expired in the third.

"That's something we talked about at halftime - to stretch the lead," Golden said.

Wa-Hi's spread increased to 21, 69-48, early in the final stanza on Winston's transition layin with 5:42 to go.

The Riverhawks made the final count look more respectable with a game-ending 12-2 run.

Wa-Hi will shoot for the division title on Tuesday when it closes out the regular season at home against West Valley.

CHIAWANA (60) - Graff 0-2 0-0 0, Knight 2-3 1-1 5, Smith 4-8 8-10 19, Walter 1-7 3-4 6, Dewitt 1-3 0-0 3, Dawning 4-5 2-4 10, Zamora 4-14 1-1 10, Lopaya 2-2 3-4 7. Totals 18-44 18-24 60.

WA-HI (71) - Winston 8-15 3-4 22, Aguiar 3-3 1-1 9, Crawford 0-1 0-0 0, Porter 0-0 0-0 0, Arias 5-9 1-1 11, Weisner 9-14 3-4 25, Maddess 0-1 0-0 0, James 0-1 0-0 0, Alden 0-1 0-0 0, Watson 1-3 0-0 2, Sumerlin 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 27-49 8-10 71.

Chiawana 18 14 12 16 - 60

Wa-Hi 17 19 25 10 - 71

3-point goals - Chiawana 6-15 (Smith 3-7, Dewitt 1-2, Zamora 1-2, Walter 1-3, Graff 0-1), Wa-Hi 9-16 (Weisner 4-5, Winston 3-5, Aguiar 2-2, Crawford 0-1, Arias 0-1, Maddess 0-1, Alden 0-1,). Total fouls-Chiawana 15, Wa-Hi 21. Fouled out- none. Technical fouls-none. Rebounds- Ciawana 32 (Dawning 6), Wa-Hi 24 (Weisner 12). Turnovers-Chiawana 15, Wa-Hi 8. Assists- Chiawana 6 (Dawning 2), Wa-Hi 16 (Weisner 7).

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