WALLA WALLA — Hanford scored first here at the Wa-Hi gym Saturday night in boys Columbia Basin Cascade Division basketball action.
Jalen DeVine hit the first bucket of the game, and Aaron Neary converted one of two free throws as the Falcons grabbed a 3-0 lead with two minutes gone in the game.
That two-minute span was the Hanford highlight on this night.
Gary Winston drove the lane and scored to get Wa-Hi on the board at the 5:18 mark. Winston dished to Ryan James to culminate a Wa-Hi fastbreak and the Blue Devils took a 4-3 lead with 4:56 left in the first.
Wa-Hi never looked back in rolling to a 60-39 win, their third consecutive victory, and improved to 2-1 in division play.
"It was a great defensive effort," Wa-Hi coach John Golden said. "We really came out and established our defense in the first half. That was our goal to contest every shot and not give them any open looks. We did a pretty good job of that in the first half."
Behind Winston’s 10 points and four each from James and Michael Weisner, Wa-Hi exploded to a 21-9 lead after one quarter.
Matt Watson came off the bench to score four and spark a 13-5 Blue Devil run over the second eight minutes as Wa-Hi went to intermission in control with a 34-14 lead.
And that Blue Devil defense limited the Falcons to a 6-of-35 shooting performance over that first 16 minutes.
"We know Walla Walla is a really good team," Falcon coach Paul Mayer said. "We knew we would have to play really, really well, and we just didn’t. We didn’t shoot well enough to compete."
The Falcons opened the third on a mini-run as a Neary basket pulled Hanford within 38-23 with 4:44 to play in the third.
Winston answered with a drive off a Colton Arias feed and added a free throw to start a Blue Devil 12-4 run. Weisner converted a Winston feed to end the run and end the third, as Wa-Hi took a 50-27 lead to the fourth.
"They are big and physical inside," Golden said of the Falcons. "Our guys matched their physicality. I was pleased with the way we pressured them and got some steals and transition buckets out of it."
Winston left with six minutes left and finished with a game-high 17 points, and a game-high six assists, as the Blue Devils put up 20 assists on the night.
"Gary can go out and create his own shot," Golden said of his WIAA player of the week. "Tonight, he really dished the ball and got some other guys involved in the offense."
Weisner finished with 11 points, James added six, Watson came off the bench to score nine, and Zach Sumerlin came off the bench to finish with six points and five rebounds.
"We had some guys that just played well," Golden said. "We need to be solid all the way through the lineup. That’s important. Who knows what’s going to happen. There’s sickness, injuries and these guys need to have some time. They’re playing hard and competing."
The Falcons drop to 2-2 in the division.
"We know how good he (Winston) is, and Walla Walla played really well," Mayer said. "We didn’t quit and we actually have a pretty good team. If someone said we could come to Walla Walla and hold them to 60 points — that’s not horrible. You just can’t score 39, but most of that was Walla Walla."
Wa-Hi travels to Yakima Tuesday, in a makeup of Friday’s postponement, to tangle with Eisenhower and begin a three-game week.
HANFORD (39) — Shintaffer 0-1 0-0 0, Manderbach 3-8 1-2 7, DeVine 2-4 0-1 4, Rueter 3-6 0-0 6, Zachara 3-19 0-0 7, Nash 0-3 2-2 2, Neary 3-8 1-2 7, Haynes 2-10 2-2 6. Totals 16-59 6-9 39.
WA-HI (60) — Winston 7-9 1-1 17, Crawford 0-2 0-0 0, Porter 1-3 0-0 2, Arias 2-6 0-0 4, Weisner 4-9 2-4 11, Maddess 1-4 0-0 3, James 3-5 0-0 6, Alden 1-8 0-0 2, Ceron 0-0 0-0 0, Watson 4-5 1-1 9, Sumerlin 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 26-56 4-6 60.
Hanford 9 5 13 12 — 39
Wa-Hi 21 13 16 10 — 60
3-point goals —Hanford 1-16 (Shintaffer 0-1, Manderbach 0-2, Rueter 0-1, Zachara 1-10, Nash 0-2), Wa-Hi 4-13 (Winston 2-3, Weisner 1-3, Maddess 1-3, James 0-1, Alden 0-3). Total fouls—Hanford 9, Wa-Hi 14. Fouled out—none. Technical fouls—none. Rebounds—Hanford 37 (Haynes 12), Wa-Hi 38 (Winston 5, Weisner 5, Alden 5, Sumerlin 5). Turnovers—Hanford 14, Wa-Hi 12. Assists—Hanford 3, Wa-Hi 20 (Winston 6).