Tenacious Wa-Hi defense downs undefeated Chiawana girls

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JAMIE WEISNER---FEBRUARY 6, 2010---JEFF HORNER PHOTO

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Wa-Hi's Rachel Adkins and Chiawana's Taylor White engage in some under the basket arm wrestling during 2nd period action Saturday night. The Blue Devils knocked off undefeated Chiawana for the hard-fought win.

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Madeline Jacobson does a Blue Devil dive as Wa-Hi knocks off previously undefeated Chiawana Saturday.

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WALLA WALLA - There are no undefeated girls basketball teams remaining in the Big Nine Cascade Division.

Chiawana came into Saturday's game against Wa-Hi with a 12-0 division record and fresh off a 62-37 division-clinching victory over West Valley Friday.

The Riverhawks ran into a tenacious, intense, aggressive Wa-Hi defense that limited Chiawana to 12-of-50 shooting from the floor, held the Riverhawks to eight first-half points, and forced 24 turnovers.

And Wa-Hi's 40-29 victory drops the Riverhawks to 12-1 in division.

"It all starts with our defense," Wa-Hi coach Jill Meliah said. "Tonight, our defense was outstanding. We knew they had a big lineup, but our guards play really physical and they play great post defense. We like to switch screens, and it doesn't really matter who is guarding who."

This one was a street fight. The Riverhawks went 0-for-11 from the floor and turned the ball over eight times in the first period.

Wa-Hi was a little better as buckets from Jill McDaniels and Jamie Weisner sparked Wa-Hi to a 5-3 lead after one quarter.

McDaniels scored nine in the second period as Wa-Hi extended the lead to 16-8 at intermission.

"They were guarding me pretty tight," McDaniels said. "I finally just drove in and my shots were falling."

Weisner drew her third foul and left the game with 6:14 left in the third. Wa-Hi got two Vicki Reardon free throws and an old fashioned 3-point play from McDaniels on a coast-to-coast drive to take a 21-19 lead to the fourth quarter.

Mikaela Rivard scored two of her game-high 15 points with 7:03 left to pull Chiawana even at 21-21.

But Wa-Hi refused to give up the lead. Weisner drained two free throws, freshman Libbie Jimenez drilled a 3, and the Blue Devils moved the lead to 26-21 with six minutes left.

"A lot of things are going through my mind," Jimenez said. "I figured I better shoot it now."

Thirty seconds later, Weisner drove the lane to up the lead to 28-21, and force the Riverhawks to foul.

The Blue Devils clung to a 36-27 lead with 1:30 to play and launched an errant pass headed for the Wa-Hi student section. Jimenez came flying after the errant pass and saved it back to Alicia Baker, and Weisner added two free throws to cap the Blue Devil possession.

"We gotta help our teammates," Jimenez said. "If someone makes a bad throw, you've just got to save it."

The Blue Devils connected on 12-of-15 free throws over the last 3:40 to thwart any Riverhawk come back. Reardon hit 3-of-4, Baker hit 1-of-2, and Weisner hit 8-of-9 as Wa-Hi consistently got her the ball.

"I don't really think about anything when I shoot," Weisner said. "Every time I shoot it, I think it's going in. I practice free throws all the time. Our whole team does. We practice free throws every day."

The Riverhawks' only consistent offensive threat in the night, Rivard, went the last 2:40 without a shot, due mainly to the defensive effort of Reardon.

"We talked that it would be about our defense," Reardon said. "That's my main role. We all helped each other out. I tried not to let her (Rivard) get position. If she doesn't touch the ball, she doesn't score."

The win improves the Blue Devils to 9-4 in the division and keeps their hopes for a district second-seed and a first-round home game alive.

"It was a huge game for us," Meliah said. "On Thursday, we talked that we had three games left, and if we could win out, we had a chance for the second seed. We've been checking them off. Richland (54-45 victory Friday) check, Chiawana (40-29 win Saturday) check, and next up West Valley (Tuesday)."

Weisner scored 14 and grabbed 10 rebounds. McDaniels also finished with 14 points.

"It was a big team win," McDaniels said of avenging a 43-38 loss at Chiawana in which she suffered a facial cut. "I used it (the cut) as a motivator."

CHIAWANA (29) - Reynolds 0-3 0-3 0, Kelly 0-0 0-0 0, Huisingh 0-0 0-0 0, Sparks 3-8 1-3 7, White 0-1 0-0 0, Ellsworth 1-7 0-0 2, Valdez 2-13 0-0 5, Hodgins 0-5 0-0 0, Rivard 6-13 3-4 15. Totals 12-50 4-10 29.

WA-HI (40) - Baker 0-6 1-2 1. Jacobson 0-7 2-2 2, Weisner 2-5 10-11 14, Jimenez 1-3 0-0 3, Adkins 0-0 0-3 0, McDaniels 6-15 1-1 14, Hamada 0-1 0-0 0, Reardon 0-4 6-10 6, Christensen 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 9-41 20-29 40.

Chiawana 3 5 11 10 - 29

Wa-Hi 5 11 5 19 - 40

3-point goals - Chiawana 1-11 (Sparks 0-1, White 0-1, Ellsworth 0-1, Valdez 1-4, Rivard 0-4), Wa-Hi 2-12 (Jacoboson 0-4, Jimenez 1-2, McDaniels 1-5, Hamada 0-1). Total fouls-Chiawana 21, Wa-Hi 11. Fouled out-Chiawana (Sparks). Technical fouls-none. Rebounds-Chiawana 36 (Rivard 7, Sparks 7), Wa-Hi 38 (Weisner 10). Turnovers-Chiawana 24, Wa-Hi 23. Assists-Chiawana 5 (Valdez 2), Wa-Hi 3 (Baker 2).

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