By DUSTIN HOLDEN
of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
WALLA WALLA - Chiawana's red-hot shooting burned Wa-Hi in the Big Nine 4A season finale for both teams.
The Riverhawks won 75-65, shooting 63 percent from field goal range and going 9-of-14 from downtown in the contest.
The Blue Devils shot 58.7 percent from the field in the offensive show.
"Chiawana was quick to the hole," Wa-Hi coach John Golden said. "We had a hard time defending the drive to the hoop, especially late in the game.
"I was proud of how hard we played, we just had that defensive breakdown that we couldn't afford."
Justin Smith led the Riverhawks, grabbing 23 points by shooting 5-for-8 from 3-point range. The guard had a team-high eight rebounds.
Smith did much of his damage in the first half, scoring 15 points to keep his team even with the Blue Devils.
It was an even heat after the first quarter at 13 apiece and at the half, at 32 each.
Miquiyah Zamora came in the second half to back Smith, scoring 20 total and 15 in the second stanza.
And Chiawana's Buddy Walter had 10 second-half points and 14 total.
"We knew that they could do that as shooters," Golden said. "Our job was to try to slow them down and we couldn't quite do that enough. They're a good team and there are enough reasons that they won the league."
Wa-Hi shot to a 10-4 early lead off team scoring.
Moe Handcox scored on a drive to basket, Kevin Toon hit a 3-pointer and Seth Alden hit a mid-range jumper and then assisted on an inside hoop to Matt Watson. Handcox made 1-of-2 free throws before Chiawana rallied, going on a 9-3 run to close the quarter.
The first half saw five lead changes and four ties, with a see-saw battle in the second quarter.
Toon scored 11 of his 13 total points in the first half to keep Wa-Hi close. He connected on 3-of-6 from downtown.
Toon was starting in place of Alex Ceron, who sat out with an injured ankle.
"Toon played great in his first start of the season. He really did a good job," Golden said.
In the third quarter, Watson scored eight of his 25 game-high points to try to keep the Blue Devils close. They trailed by four at the end of the third, 53-49.
Alden turned on the engines in the second half, scoring 11 of his total 15 points after the intermission.
Alden also dished out a game-high five assists.
Despite the loss, Wa-Hi finished 6-6 in conference play, good enough for fourth place.
The Blue Devils host Moses Lake in a 7:30 p.m. Friday loser-out playoff game.
The winner advances to a double-elimination district tournament round.
"We have played pretty solid all year," Golden said. "I'm happy for the team. They played well enough to get to host a playoff game.
"The playoffs are a second season, everything starts over and good teams elevate their game in the playoffs and that is what we want to do."
Chiawana 75, Wa-Hi 65
CHIAWANA (75) - Downing 4-5 0-0 8, Lopaya 0-1 0-0 0, Walter 6-8 1-1 14, Zamora 6-11 6-9 20, Graff 1-2 0-0 3, Smith 9-13 0-1 23, Knight 3-5 0-0 6, Anderson 0-1 1-2 1. Totals - 29-46 9-15 75
WA-HI (65) - Toon 4-8 2-2 13, Swenson 0-1 0-0 0, Handcox 2-4 1-4 6, Eggers 0-0 0-0 0, Campeau 0-0 0-0 0, Alden 6-11 1-3 15, Dunovant 0-0 0-0 0, Ferenz 3-5 0-0 6, Watson 12-17 1-3 25. Totals - 27-46 4-10 65
Chiawana 13 19 21 22 - 75
Wa-Hi 13 19 17 16 - 65
3-point goals - Chiawana 9-14 (Walter 1-1, Zamora 2-4, Graff 1-1, Smith 5-8), Wa-Hi 7-19 (Toon 3-7, Swenson 0-1, Handcox 1-3, Alden 2-5, Watson 1-3). Total fouls - Wa-Hi 14, Chiawana 13. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Wa-Hi 21 (Watson 7), Chiawana 21 (Smith 8). Turnovers - Wa-Hi 14, Chiawana 9. Assists - Wa-Hi 16 (Alden 5), Chiawana 7 (Zamora 4).