Season ends for Wa-Hi girls

Jordan Loera scores 27 points and has six steals in Moses Lake's 47-41 win over Wa-Hi at the regional tournament Saturday.

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KENNEWICK - The dream ended at the Toyota Center for Wa-Hi Saturday morning at the Class 4A Eastern Regional Championships.

Jordan Loera's 27 points, nine rebounds and six steals led Moses Lake to a 47-41 victory over the Blue Devils.

The loss ended Wa-Hi's season and earned the Chiefs a berth in next week's state tournament.

"They (Wa-Hi) played their hearts out," Wa-Hi coach Jill Meliah said. "They exceeded so many expectations. (But), today, Moses was better than we were.

"Jordan (Loera) is pretty good," Meliah continued. "She took over the game and, no matter what we did, we didn't have an answer for her."

Loera set the tone for the game from the opening tip. She had two early steals - and took both coast-to-coast for scores - and scored six points in the first quarter as the Chiefs went on top 10-3 after one quarter.

Wa-Hi surged back, behind Jamie Weisner's 10 second-quarter points, to score 14 in the quarter. A Weisner jumper at the 5:10 mark produced the first Blue Devil lead at 11-10.

Weisner drained a trey at the halftime buzzer to send the game to the break at 17-17.

Alicia Baker scored five, Weisner added eight and Jill McDaniels scored a deuce as the Blue Devils went on a 15-9 spurt in the third period to take a 32-26 lead to the fourth.

Megan Sutherland hit a 3 for the Chiefs to open the fourth, but Vicki Reardon answered with a pair of free throws. Wa-Hi held a 34-29 lead with 7:06 left.

A Loera bucket at 4:20 gave the Chiefs a 36-35 lead. Weisner scored and converted two free throws on the next Blue Devil possession as the Blue Devils hung tough with a 39-37 lead with 3:16 to play.

Then, it was Loera time. The 5-foot-8 junior grabbed two steals and scored eight of the Chiefs' last 10 points, on a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line, to lead Moses Lake on a 10-2 run and nail down a state ticket.

The Blue Devils only scored nine points over the last eight minutes, but following Loera's two free throws with two minutes left, Wa-Hi trailed only 41-39. The Chiefs and Blue Devils then exchanged turnovers.

Loera drove the lane with 37 seconds left and collided with McDaniels. The whistle went against the Blue Devils, and Loera drained both of her free throws for a 43-39 Chiefs lead.

Weisner cut the lead to 43-41 with two charity tosses at the 24-second mark, but was called for her fifth foul seconds later on the ensuing in-bounds loose-ball scrum.

Loera converted those free throws and iced the win with two more with 8.8-seconds left.

"In the last few minutes, out of pure desire and want, we tried to do too much," Meliah said. "Offensively, we got bothered by their defense, and they had a good game plan. And they are playing very well right now. Give credit to them, they got it done."

Weisner was named to the all-tournament first team and led Wa-Hi with 10 rebounds and 24 points, giving her 78 points in her three regional games.

Baker finished with eight points, McDaniels added five and handed out five assists, and Reardon, who gave up five inches to the Chiefs' 6-3 (and M.L.'s second-leading scorer) Kayla Bernsen, held Bernsen to seven points while grabbing seven boards.

Wa-Hi finishes the season 16-10 and one game short of the dream - a trip to state.

"It doesn't mean much right now, but this season was a heckuva season," Meliah said. "I'm proud to say that these girls were part of the first team that I've ever been head coach of. This was the best team I've ever been on as far as being a true team."

Four seniors concluded their Wa-Hi careers as McDaniels, Baker, Reardon and Rachael Adkins bid farewell to the blue and white.

"Especially for Alicia (Baker) and Jill (McDaniels), this is hard," Meliah said of her seniors. "They have been with me for four years (three as assistant coach and this year). They mean a lot to me personally, even more than basketball. They are great, and I'm really going to miss them.

"We couldn't have done what we did without Vicki (Reardon)," Meliah continued. "She added so much to this team that we really needed. And Rach (Adkins) is one of the best kids I've ever met. She embraced her role and was positive and encouraging every day."

MOSES LAKE (47) - Sutherland 1-2 1-2 4, Loera 8-18 10-10 27, Padillia 3-7 1-2 7, Morris 1-3 0-0 2, Diaz 0-0 0-0 0, Munoz 0-1 0-0 0, Bernsen 3-8 1-2 7. Totals 16-39 13-16 47.

WA-HI (41) - Baker 2-7 3-4 8, Jacobson 0-3 1-3 1, Weisner 7-16 8-8 24, McDaniels 2-9 0-0 5, Hamada 0-0 0-0 0, Reardon 0-3 0-0 0, Christensen 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-38 15-19 41.

Moses Lake 10 7 9 21 - 47

Wa-Hi 3 14 15 9 - 41

3-point goals - ML 2-10 (Sutherland 1-1, Loera 1-5, Padillia 0-2, Morris 0-2), Wa-Hi 4-10 (Baker 1-1, Jacobson 0-2, Weisner 2-2, McDaniels 1-5). Total fouls - ML 17, Wa-Hi 19. Fouled out - Wa-Hi (Weisner). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - ML 24 (Loera 9), Wa-Hi 29 (Weisner 10). Turnovers - ML 15, Wa-Hi 18. Assists - ML 6 (Sutherland 2, Diaz 2), Wa-Hi 7 (McDaniels 5).

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