COLLEGE PLACE - Senior night wasn't as sweet as it might've been for Walla Walla Valley Academy, hosting DeSales in its final Southeast 2B League girls game of the season on Tuesday.
The Irish (8-3 in league, 14-5 overall) picked up a 50-21 win on the night.
Walla Walla Valley Academy plays in the Walla Walla University Friendship Tournament this weekend, but league play is done for the Knights (0-12 in SE2B play, 0-16 overall).
"All year long, we've had the same problems," said WWVA head coach Monty Buell. "We'll do OK in the first half and we'll have long droughts in the second. They're a really good shooting team and we didn't do nearly enough to hold them."
The Knights opened scoring and put the first five points on the board, but DeSales surged ahead with a trey by Annie Higgins, the first of her two 3s on the night.
With just six minutes played, the Irish were ahead for good. They closed the quarter up 9-6 and ended the half with a 23-15 lead.
"I don't know whether it was our good defense or what, but DeSales missed a lot of shots in the first half that they didn't miss in the second," Buell said.
DeSales was 5-for-24 from the floor in the first half.
"I don't think we played particularly well in the first half," said Irish coach Tim Duncan. "But we played really well in the second half. ... I think we were more relaxed. The girls had a better idea of where they were supposed to be."
The Irish held the Knights scoreless in the third quarter and racked up 21 points of their own, including tossing in three of their seven treys on the night.
And in a rather bizarre play in the game, a WWVA fan was assigned a technical for distracting DeSales' Erin Giusti while she was shooting a free throw. The Irish went 3-for-3 on the free-throw shots.
Giusti led DeSales with 13 points on the night, including one trey. She also had six boards in the win.
Although WWVA scrambled through the fourth quarter, scoring six points, the damage was done. The 50-21 win sends DeSales into its Friday game against Dayton with the postseason on the team's minds. The Irish are tied for second place with Asotin. This weekend's games dictate their postseason seeding.
"We're going to focus on playing more sound ball all the time, and not just a quarter," said Duncan.
Duncan was especially pleased with Claire Konen, who played out of position for most of the night.
For WWVA, the season ends after the Friendship Tournament this week.
"They fought to the end," Buell said. "They were down 40-15 and they didn't quit. They were fighting. At the very end, we had girls hurt, laying on the floor, and they were down by that much and still playing that hard. As I coach, I love to see that kind of effort even when they have no chance to win."
Seniors Jessica Hutton, Kelsie Schafer and Rochea Paulson played their last game in maroon.
"We'll miss our seniors," Buell said. "They provided a lot of leadership. But this is a young team and we learned a lot this year. I'm optimistic about next year."
DeSales 50, WWVA 21
DESALES (50) - Konen 2-2 3-4 8, Higgins 2-7 0-0 6, B. Lyons 0-2 0-0 0, Buley 0-0 0-0 0, Giusti 4-11 4-9 13, Blanc 1-5 0-0 3, Wujek 0-2 0-0 0, Moberg 0-2 0-0 0, Crowley 1-7 0-0 2, Zander 2-3 2-2 7, A. Lyons 1-8 4-6 7, Ferrel 2-7 0-0 4. Totals 16-56 12-21 50.
WWVA (21) - Arnzen 2-12 0-0 5, Croft 0-0 0-0 0, Buell 2-8 3-5 8, Hellie 0-3 0-0 0, Field 2-8 0-1 5, Giles 0-1 1-2 1, Hutton 0-0 0-2 0, Thompson 0-1 0-2 0, Schafer 1-3 0-0 2, Paulson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 6-33 3-10 21.
DeSales 9 14 21 6 - 50
WWVA 6 9 0 6 - 21
3-point goals - DeS 7 (Higgins 3, Giusti, Blanc, Lyons, Zander), WWVA 3 (Buell, Arnzen, Field). Total fouls - DeS 14, WWVA 21. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - WWVA (Fan). Rebounds - DeS 36 (Giusti 6), WWVA 33 (Buell 7). Turnovers - DeS 16, WWVA 27.