Waitsburg-Prescott fights off pesky Irish girls, 40-36

A game-ending 7-1 run lifts W-P to the District 9 title as DeSales faced an elimination game Saturday night against Asotin.

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Even the reach of 5-foot, 11-inch W-P's Alyssa Hafen wasn't long enough to grab the ball as she and DeSales' Ali Zander dove to the court.

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Both DeSales's Stephanie Ferrel (right) and a loose ball share that floating feeling as W-P's Alyssa Hafen (No. 14) trips up in her pursuit and Ali Zander (No. 22) trail the pursuit.

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Cheesehead chatter and rousing support from the DeSales fans helped keep the Irish girls in spirit going up against W-P Friday night at Whitman's George Ball Court.

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DeSales' Erin Giusti eyes the basket but can't get through the defense of W-P's Genesis Pearson.

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It was an emotional victory for W-P Friday night as Megan Withers, second from left, howled and hugged Alyssa Hafen (No. 14) and Genesis Pearson following their 40-36 win over the DeSales Irish at Whitman's George Ball Court Friday night. The win gives the W-P girls the No. 1 seed out of the District 9 2B Tournament.

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W-P'S Dionna Baker (right) takes one to the nose as she and DeSales' Ali Zander both go after a loose ball.

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With the Irish girls down 15-16 at the half a flag waving DeSales fan tried to rally the Irish for the rest of the game. It almost worked with DeSales taking the lead a couple of times, but ultimately going down to defeat against W-P in the final minutes of play.

WALLA WALLA - Megan Withers converted a three-point play with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter Friday night to commence a game-ending, 7-1 run that lifted undefeated Waitsburg-Prescott to a 40-36 victory over DeSales in the championship game of the Class 2B District 9 girls basketball tournament at Whitman College's George Ball Court.

Friday's win was W-P's third against the Irish this season.

"I knew it was going to be a cat fight all the way to the end," W-P coach Jerry Baker said.

"I'm proud of our kids," said DeSales coach Tim Duncan. "It was a great effort. We weren't intimidated."

W-P will take a 21-0 record and the district's No. 1 seed to Spokane for one of two Class 2B super regional tourneys scheduled for next weekend.

The Irish were 14-7 overall prior to an elimination game with Asotin on Saturday night for the district's No. 2 seed.

Saturday's winner will travel to Wenatchee for regional action.

DeSales jumped out to a 6-0 lead on an Erin Giusti drive at the 5:28 mark of Friday's opening quarter.

Waitsburg-Prescott responded with the last nine points of the period. Genesis Pearson scored four points, Krystal Harris added a 3-pointer with 2:20 left, and Kristin Potter ended the spurt with a 2-point bucket with 44 seconds to go.

Potter keyed a 7-0 W-P run in the second quarter with four points that helped Waitsburg-Prescott take a 16-15 edge into halftime.

Giusti kept the Irish close with four points and Ali Zander contributed three.

The teams combined for just eight points in the third quarter. Harris drained a 3 with one minute on the clock to give W-P a 21-18 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

DeSales stayed in contention despite going the entire period without a field goal. Giusti accounted for all the Irish scoring with three free throws.

The offensive shortcomings for both teams were forgotten in the fourth quarter.

Stephanie Ferrell, who tied Giusti for game-high scoring honors with 12 points, tallied nine in the final frame - including a right-angle 3 with 2:10 remaining - that gave the Irish a 35-33 advantage.

"It was a matter of (executing) and staying with (our) stuff," Duncan said.

Withers - who was scoreless through three quarters, but had given W-P a 28-24 lead on a three-point play with 4:57 left - delivered in the clutch just 15 seconds after Ferrell's make.

W-P made nine-of-14 charity tosses in the last quarter to seal the win. Pearson and Withers were a combined 7-of-8.

"We made our free throws when it counted," Baker said. "Gen and Megan stepped up."

"We know each other so well," said Duncan. "The kids never got down and played extremely hard."

Harris led W-P with 11 points, Pearson scored nine and Withers ended up with eight.

W-P 40, DeSales 36

W-P (40) - Potter 4-13 0-0 8, Goenen 1-1 0-0 2, Huxoll 0-1 0-0 0, Hafen 0-1 0-0 0, Harris 3-10 3-8 11, Hulce 1-6 0-0 2, Withers 2-5 4-6 8, Pearson 3-10 3-4 9, Hofer 0-0 0-0 0, Baker 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 14-49 10-18 40.

DESALES (36) - Konen 0-4 0-0 0, Higgins 1-6 0-0 2, Buley 1-3 0-0 2, Giusti 2-7 8-13 12, Blanc 0-1 0-0 0, Moberg 0-0 0-0 0, Zander 2-6 1-3 6, Lyons 1-7 0-0 2, Ferrell 3-8 3-6 12. Totals 10-42 12-22 36.

W-P 9 7 5 19 - 40

DeSales 6 9 3 18 - 36

3-point goals - W-P 2-9 (Harris 2-6, Withers 0-1, Potter 0-2), DeSales 4-17 (Ferrell 3-5, Zander 1-2, Blanc 0-1, Konen 0-2, Lyons 0-3, Higgins 0-4). Total fouls - W-P 18, DeSales 20. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - W-P 46 (Harris 8, Pearson 8), DeSales 39 (Giusti 8). Turnovers - W-P 24, DeSales 25.

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