YAKIMA — Haley Curtis fired home 20 points to lead her West Valley Rams to a 48-44 Big Nine Cascade Division girls basketball win over Wa-Hi here Monday at the SunDown Showdown.
The good news for the Blue Devils: a brutal weekend of games came to an end. Wa-Hi finished a stretch of three games — all on the road — in four days. The Blue Devils went to Richland on Friday, to Pasco on Saturday to face Chiawana, and to Yakima on Monday to meet the Rams.
With only a victory at Richland in that stretch, the Blue Devils complete the first round of play in the Cascade Division at 3-4.
"I’m so glad its over," Wa-Hi coach Jill Meliah said of the three-day weekend. "It’s a tough loss, but we’re tired. I think it showed tonight. There were stretches where we looked really good, and then there were stretches where we couldn’t handle the ball, we’d lose focus, we wouldn’t know where people were and we’d turn the ball over. I think it’s all due to fatigue."
A Sydney Christensen assist to Alicia Baker got Baker loose for a bucket and Wa-Hi had the game tied at 8-8 with 2:40 to play in the first quarter.
Tired Wa-Hi legs, plus an aggressive Rams team at both ends of the court, produced a 16-0 West Valley run. Kari Erwin’s bucket capped a 6:40 stretch that saw the Blue Devils go 0-of-7 from the floor, the Rams shoot 6-of-10 from the floor and the Rams defense force five Wa-Hi turnovers.
Erwin’s bucket with four minutes left in the half gave West Valley a 24-8 lead.
Jill McDaniels hit a trey 30 seconds later to stop the bleeding and cut the Ram lead to 24-11.
Behind two Vicki Reardon free throws, and buckets from Baker and Jamie Weisner, and in spite of only shooting 27 percent from the field in the half, Wa-Hi went to intermission only down 27-17.
Sparked by two steals by Baker, Wa-Hi found some energy to open the third on a 9-3 run. Weisner’s bucket off a Baker feed cut the Rams lead to 40-36 with 5:16 left in the third.
Curtis answered for West Valley by draining two free throws, and Wa-Hi never got over the hump as the Rams held on to take a 34-30 lead to the fourth.
"I give our girls credit, they battled the whole game," Meliah said. "Every time we would get back in it, it seemed like West Valley would go on a little run, and they (West Valley) played well. (And) it seemed that no matter what we did, we couldn’t stop her (Curtis)."
The Rams opened the fourth period on a 6-0 run to push the lead to 40-30 following a pair of Erwin free throws with 4:37 to play.
It proved too much of a deficit, but Wa-Hi got a trey from McDaniels, a 3-point play from Reardon, and a late 3 from Baker to narrow the final to 48-44.
"I was glad to see us fly around and force them into some turnovers," Meliah said of the 27-21 Wa-Hi second-half scoring edge. "We did have some positives out of this."
McDaniels, with four treys, led the Blue Devil scoring with 12. Baker added nine points to go with seven assists and six steals, Reardon scored nine and pulled down six boards, and Maddie Jacobson came off the bench to score six.
"Vicki (Reardon) had one of her best games" Meliah said of her senior post. "She’s really coming along. I’m excited to see what she can do for us down the stretch."
The Rams did stop Weisner, who fouled out with 4:59 left with only six points.
"Jamie plays so hard and doesn’t take a play off, ever," Meliah said. "For her to play three games in four days takes a toll on her body. She’s tired."
The light at the end of the tunnel is that Wa-Hi will end the season with Richland, Chiawana and West Valley all at home. But first, the Blue Devils must pack their travel bags once more and travel to Kennewick to play Kamiakin Friday.
WA-HI (44) — Baker 4-7 0-0 9, Jacobson 2-6 2-2 6, Weisner 3-9 0-3 6, Adkins 1-2 0-0 2, McDaniels 4-16 0-1 12, Hamada 0-1 0-0 0, Reardon 2-5 5-5 9, Christensen 0-4 0-0 0, Anderson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-51 7-11 44.
WEST VALLEY (48) — Herzog 1-9 4-6 6, Wineiger 0-1 0-0 0, Curry 1-5 0-0 3, Gholston 0-3 1-2 1, Jaeger 1-1 3-3 5, Curtis 8-10 3-6 20, Roberts 0-0 1-2 1, Erwin 4-10 4-4 12. Totals 15-39 16-23 48.
Wa-Hi 8 9 13 14 — 44
West Valley 14 13 7 14 — 48
3-point goals —Wa-Hi 5-18 (Baker 1-2, Jacobson 0-3, McDaniels 4-13), WV 2-8 (Herzog 0-1, Curry 1-5, Curtis 1-2). Total fouls—Wa-Hi 19, WV 17. Fouled out—Wa-Hi (Weisner). Technical fouls—none. Rebounds—Wa-Hi 37 (Weisner 6, Reardon 6), WV 28 (Jaeger 5). Turnovers—Wa-Hi 18, WV 14. Assists—Wa-Hi 9 (Baker 7), WV 8 (Curry 4).