WALLA WALLA - Wa-Hi got even younger as freshmen Kiana Molitor and Jaiden Hodnefield made their home varsity debuts for the Blue Devils Saturday in Columbia Basin Big 9 girls basketball action.
Wa-Hi jumped to an 8-5 lead after one, but Wenatchee took it from there.
The Panthers ran off 36 points over the next two periods, stymied the Blue Devils with full-court pressure, and held Wa-Hi to 13 points to lead 41-21 after three periods. The Panthers improved to 2-0 in CBBN with the 57-44 win.
"I was disappointed with our effort tonight," Wa-Hi coach Jill Meliah said. "As well as we played last night (a 52-46 win over Davis), as much as we were flying around and making things happen tonight, we just came out really flat. It's disappointing because we've been playing so much better than what we played tonight. I don't know if that is a sign of being tired (after the long trip to Davis), or just inconsistency of having a young team, but we need to find an answer."
Andrea Hamada drained a trey with 4:52 left in the first and the Blue Devils hung onto the lead to take the 8-5 margin to the second.
Gabby Anderson hit both of her free throws with 4:58 left in the half for the Blue Devils last lead of the night at 12-11.
The Panthers went on an 11-1 run to lead 22-13 following an Ashley Sharp trey with :56 left in the half. Molitor hit a triple for the Blue Devils to get within 22-16 at intermission.
The third period belonged to the Panthers' Lexxi Hallberg and the Panther press. The press forced Wa-Hi into turnovers on its first five possessions of the half. At the other end, Hallberg bombed home three treys and the Panthers outscored Wa-Hi 19-5 to take command.
"We never did attack that press," Meliah said. "We need to learn how we can get ourselves going when we have games like this. When everybody is flat, we have to figure out who can step up and get us going."
The Blue Devils showed signs of life in the fourth. Behind treys from Maddie Jacobson, Hodnefield and Hamada, the Blue Devils put 23 points on the board. Molitor finished the deal with a layin off a steal and one to bring the final to 57-44.
"The bonus of this game was that in the fourth, we actually played," Meliah said. "I told them before the fourth, that this was a gut check and you could either roll over and die and get beat by 30, or you can fight. I was proud of them for responding."
Wa-Hi played without starting guard Jami Klicker, who missed the game with an injury, but on this night the Panthers had the answers. Hallberg led all scorers with 12 points.
Anderson led Wa-Hi with 10 points. Molitor and Hamada scored eight and Hodnefield added seven. Jacobson, in her home return after a lingering ankle injury, finished with five.
Wa-Hi, 1-3 in conference, hosts Eisenhower Tuesday.
"We need to have memory enough to learn from this, but not enough to let it hang over our heads," Meliah said. "We have to respond as we need a game Tuesday."
Wenathcee 57, Wa-Hi 44
WENATCHEE (57) - Kansky 3-6 1-2 7, Douglass 2-3 0-1, Parker 2-4 2-2 7, Rockstad 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Stone 1-2 0-0 2, Sharp 1-3 0-0 3, Buterbaugh 1-8 1-2 4, Holzerland 4-6 3-4 11, George 3-10 1-2 7, Hallberg 4-7 1-3 12. Totals 21-51 9-16 57.
WA-HI (44) - Jacobson 2-4 0-2 5, Crawford 0-1 2-2 2, Jimenez 0-5 0-0 0, Christensen 0-2 0-0 0, Greene 1-3 2-2 4, Hamada 2-4 2-2 8, Molitor 2-6 2-3 7, Hodnefield 3-8 0-0 8, Anderson 2-6 6-9 10. Totals 12-39 14-20 44.
Wenatchee 5 17 19 16 - 57
Wa-Hi 8 8 5 23 - 44
3-point goals - Wen 6-12 (Kansky 0-1, Parker 1-1, Rockstad 0-1, Sharp 1-1, Buterbaugh 1-5, Hallberg 3-3), Wa-Hi 6-19 (Jacobson 1-2, Jimenez 0-4, Hamada 2-4, Molitor 1-2, Hodnefield 2-7). Total fouls - Wen 20, Wa-Hi 15. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls-none. Rebounds - Wen 32 (George 7), Wa-Hi 34 (Jimenez 6, Anderson 6). Turnovers - Wen 12, Wa-Hi 25. Assists - Wen 13 (George 4), Wa-Hi 8 (Jacobson 2).