WALLA WALLA - "We'll go to war on Tuesday," Wa-Hi girls coach Jill Meliah said following the 51-32 defeat to Chiawana in last Friday's district championship.
Wa-Hi went to ‘war' here Tuesday to open the regional basketball tournament.
And Wa-Hi battled to a 58-54 victory over Central Valley.
The Blue Devils and Bears went to the fourth at tied 40-40.
"I told her (Jamie Weisner) to take over," Meliah said. "The other girls really stepped up to make that happen. Jamie is a very good slasher, so we tried to move it around the outside and tried to get her on the inside and let her create."
Mission accomplished. Weisner scored 12 fourth-period points, including 7-of-8 from the free-throw line in the last 1:18, to spark Wa-Hi to an 18-14 fourth-quarter advantage and the win.
The Blue Devils move within one victory of a state berth and face Mead, a 55-45 winner over Richland Tuesday, at 4 p.m. Friday at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Weisner scored 24 of her game-high 34 points in the second half as Wa-Hi overcame a 27-24 halftime deficit.
"Jamie blew me away," senior guard Alicia Baker said. "It's my last home game. For Jamie to come out and make 34 points is awesome!"
A Maddie Jacobson bucket gave Wa-Hi an 11-6 lead with 2:11 left in the first period. The Bears ended on a 7-2 run as Sydney Emory's 3-pointer pulled the Bears even at 13-13 after one.
Central Valley used 6-foot-2 Loree Hill and 6-0 Brandy Johnson to pack in a 2-3 zone and trouble Wa-Hi's offense as the Bears grabbed the 27-24 edge at the half.
"We knew they would play a 2-3," Meliah said. "We talked about being patient, moving the ball, and trying to get the ball to the high post and create from there."
The Bears, behind their height, went on a 13-10 run, and following a Whitney Black free throw, led 40-34 with 2:52 left in the third quarter.
"We started slowing down and getting real tired," Baker said. "But we decided we wanted to pull out a win here in our last home game and make it easier to go to state."
Wa-Hi closed out the third with a Weisner bucket, a Jacobson score and a Weisner hoop off a Jill McDaniels feed to get even at 40-40.
Weisner scored 12 of Wa-Hi's 16 third-period points. Vicki Reardon's two free throws and the Jacobson bucket accounting for the other four.
"We were looking to cut into the open spot," Weisner said of the offensive plan. "We wanted to pass it to the middle and find the open girl. We wanted to dribble and pass and make the defense move."
Weisner opened the fourth quarter with a free throw. The Bears' Hill answered with two free throws for a 42-41 CV lead 30 seconds into the quarter.
On the ensuing Wa-Hi possession, Weisner missed three shots, but got the ball back each time and finally got one to drop for a 43-42 lead.
"Once I miss one I get mad," Weisner said. "I don't want to miss a chippy shot, so I rebound until I make it."
Johnson answered with a Bears basket for CV's last lead at 44-43 with 6:11 left.
McDaniels drained a trey for a Wa-Hi 46-44 lead at the 5:45 mark and the Blue Devils fought off each CV challenge the rest of the way.
Weisner hit two free throws for a 57-54 lead with 10 seconds left. Central Valley got the ball to halfcourt and called time out.
With six seconds left and a chance to tie, Jacobson, who missed the last two games with illness and scored eight Tuesday night, deflected the inbounds pass off Kelsey Matthews and out of bounds, giving the ball back to Wa-Hi.
"That sucked, setting on the bench those last two games," Jacobson said. "It was great to get to play. I was focusing (on the inbounds play) on pushing them up so they wouldn't get closer to the hoop. And I was able to get a hand on it."
Weisner, who also grabbed a team-high 17 boards, added a free throw to ice it with three seconds remaining.
"The girls played so well," Meliah said. "They laid it all out and left nothing. We looked to be aggressive at the right times. Defensively, we stepped up in the second half. We were flying around and got some big turnovers, and limited their offensive rebounds. We just kept battling."
CENTRAL VALLEY (54) - P. Gallaway 0-0 0-0 0, Estey 5-10 3-5 17, McLain 1-2 1-2 3, Emory 2-6 0-0 5, Black 2-9 1-2 5, B. Gallaway 5-7 2-5 12, Hill 3-4 2-2 8, Matthews 0-5 0-0 0, Johnson 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 20-46 9-16 54.
WA-HI (58) - Baker 1-5 2-2 4, Jacobson 3-4 1-3 8, Weisner 11-22 10-12 34, McDaniels 3-10 0-0 9, Hamada 0-1 0-0 0, Reardon 0-4 3-7 3, Christensen 0-1 0-0 0, Jimenez 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-48 16-24 58.
Central Valley 13 14 13 14 - 54
Wa-Hi 13 11 16 18 - 58
3-point goals - CV 5-17 (Estey 4-6, Emory 1-4, Black 0-1, B. Gallaway 0-1, Matthews 0-5), Wa-Hi 6-13 (Jacobson 1-1, Weisner 2-2, McDaniels 3-9, Hamada 0-1). Total fouls - CV 17, 13. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - CV 28 (Emory 5), Wa-Hi 37 (Weisner 17). Turnovers - CV 15, Wa-Hi 14. Assists - CV 10 (B. Gallaway 2, Matthews 2, Black 2), Wa-Hi 5 (Baker 2, Weisner 2).