WALLA WALLA - Eisenhower opened the game on a 9-4 run and opened the second half on a 10-4 run here Tuesday in Columbia Basin Big Nine 4A boys basketball play.
The Blue Devils recovered from both sluggish starts and went on to down the Cadets, 58-48.
"It was a grinder," Blue Devil coach John Golden said. "It was frustrating because it wasn't a thing of beauty. But we got it done."
Wa-Hi closed the first period on an 8-4 run as Seth Alden beat the first-quarter buzzer with a trey, and the Blue Devils led 12-11.
Wa-Hi lost Alex Ceron to an ankle injury, but the Blue Devils continued their run in the second quarter. Kevin Toon drained two treys and Marshall Dunovant went coast-to-coast with a steal as the Blue Devils extended the run to 18-3 and led 22-12 with 4:02 left.
Ike wouldn't go away, as two late 3s from Kolney Cassel cut the Wa-Hi lead to 30-21 at intermission.
A deuce from Ike's Cody Clayton capped the Cadets' 10-4 run, and Ike had pulled within 34-31 with 2:40 left in the third.
"Defensively, we did some things that are pretty uncharacteristic for us," Golden said. "We didn't keep guys in front and didn't close out with hands up. Stuff we normally do. And give them (Eisenhower) credit, they hit some shots."
Moe Handcox Jr. scored seven of his 10 points in the third period to right the Wa-Hi ship, and just as Alden did to end the first period, Handcox took a feed from Alden and buried a trey with 3 seconds left to produce a 43-36 Blue Devil lead heading to the fourth.
"Anytime you can finish like that (3s at the buzzer), it's a point they will never be able to answer because it's at the end of the quarter," Alden said. "They were huge momentum builders. It was kind of dead in here tonight and we had to make our own momentum."
Wa-Hi, behind Alden, seized the momentum in the fourth quarter.
Alden hit a trey to open the period, then drove the lane for two.
Alden had another drive, hung in the air, and hit 2 more.
And following a Josh Eggers bucket, Alden took a feed from Eggers and finished as the Blue Devils had command at 56-45 with 2:54 left.
Alden hit 4-of-5 shots and his only free throw to score 10 of his game-high 17 in the final stanza.
"In the fourth, we just had to come out and run our offense," Alden said. "They were gambling and started to pressure me more. That opened up the middle and I was able to drive and get to the hole quite a bit. I was starting to feel it. You get it going like that and it just goes."
Robert Ferenz capped the Blue Devil scoring on a putback of Alden's one miss, and Wa-Hi led 58-45 with 1:17 to play. Tanner Urlacher hit a late trey for the Cadets to run the final to 58-48.
Alden dished out six assists to go with his 17 points.
Ferenz added 12 points and grabbed a team-high seven boards.
Toon finished with nine off the bench, and Eggers came off the bench to get six points.
"Kevin Toon came out and hit some shots for us. He's capable of doing that," Golden said. "Josh Eggers came in and played well both defensively and he hit some shots. It was nice to see some other guys come in and contribute. We needed that."
The win improves Wa-Hi to 6-5 in league, 9-10 overall.
Wa-Hi hosts Chiawana Saturday in the regular-season finale before hosting a playoff game a week from Friday.
"We have to beat Chiawana," senior point guard Alden said. "That's huge. Senior night and, it was so close up there, we've got to beat them here, (so) we'll have huge momentum going to the playoffs."
Wa-Hi 58, Eisenhower 48
EISENHOWER (48) - Cassel 2-8 0-0 6, Gasseling 1-5 0-2 2, Burns 0-0 0-0 0, Clayton 5-9 3-6 13, Urlacher 4-8 0-0 11, An. Solo 6-10 1-2 14, Ab. Solo 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 19-44 4-10 48.
WA-HI (58) - Toon 3-4 1-2 9, Ceron 0-0 0-0 0, Swenson 0-0 0-0 0, Handcox 4-9 0-0 10, Torres 0-0 0-0 0, Eggers 3-4 0-0 6, Alden 7-12 1-1 17, Dunovant 2-7 0-2 4, Ferenz 5-10 2-2 12, Watson 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 24-51 4-7 58.
Eisenhower 11 10 15 12 - 48
Wa-Hi 12 18 13 15 - 58
3-point goals - Ike 6-13 (Cassel 2-5, Gasseling 0-2, Urlacher 3-4 An. Soto 1-1, Ab. Soto 0-1), Wa-Hi 6-10 (Toon 2-3, Handcox 2-3, Alden 2-4). Total fouls - Ike 7, Wa-Hi 12. Fouled out - Ike (Clayton). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Ike 30 (Clayton 7, An. Soto 7), Wa-Hi 27 (Ferenz 7). Turnovers - Ike 16, Wa-Hi 12. Assists - Ike 8 (Cassel 3, Clayton 3), Wa-Hi 14 (Alden 6).
4A Big Nine Boys
School League Overall
Davis 8-1 17-4
Chiawana 8-2 12-5
Richland 7-3 14-4
Walla Walla 6-5 9-9
Wenatchee 2-8 6-12
Moses Lake 3-6 6-11
Eisenhower 1-10 2-17