WALLA WALLA - Wa-Hi's girls basketball team picked up its second Big Nine win of the season with a strong interior showing during a 56-37 victory over Eisenhower at home Tuesday.
The Blue Devils (6-6 overall, 2-3 in Big Nine play) controlled most of the game, jumping out to a 16-7 advantage after the opening frame, thanks in large part to a pair of 3s from guard Libbie Jiminez.
"Our outside shooting was very strong," said Wa-Hi head coach Jill Meliah. "This was a much better effort overall than our last one, and you could really see that on offense."
The Blue Devils showed their outside shooting prowess again in the second quarter when guard Jaiden Hodnefield hit three shots from beyond the arc in eight minutes to land some back-breaking jumpers from downtown, leading the Blue Devils to a 30-14 spread at the break that would never drop under double figures in the second half.
Hodnefield capped her hot quarter with her third trey just before the half expired, sending Wa-Hi into intermission on a high note.
"What we were concerned about most was their size because they have some big posts that are awesome down low and are very talented, but it was their shooting that actually hurt us more early," said Ike head coach Chris Willmarth. "We were trying some new things defensively to try and keep them off the offensive glass, which worked pretty well.
"But it's hard to overcome five 3-pointers in the first half when you are already giving up a lot of size."
Jiminez's third 3 of the night continued Wa-Hi's strong evening beyond the arc to cap a 9-2 run that stretched the lead to 23 at the 4:01 mark.
The Blue Devils finished the night 22-for-54 from the field and 7-for-14 from downtown.
Wa-Hi also finished with a decisive edge on the glass, winning that battle 43-32.
Wa-Hi's biggest lead of the night was 48-23 with 2:02 on the clock after Sydney Christensen hit a runner in traffic, which left the game in little doubt.
The fourth quarter was fairly academic, although Ike did mount a 9-1 run to cut into Wa-Hi's hefty cushion.
Still, the double-digit bubble allowed the Blue Devils to get nine players 10-plus minutes on the court.
"We challenged the girls to play a better game tonight than they did on Saturday (a 57-44 loss to Wenatchee), and we could not be more pleased with how they met that challenge," Meliah said. "To get four 3s from Jaiden and three from Libbie gave us a huge edge, and Gabby (Anderson) and Sydney on the inside were excellent."
Christensen led the squad with 10 rebounds on the evening, while Anderson posted nine, and the Blue Devils received two assists from a trio of players.
Forward Devin Guerra-Burnett was the Cadets' high scorer with nine.
"I thought we played well on defense and well against them on the boards at times," Willmarth said. "They just have a lot of bigs and played a great game."
Wa-Hi's next contest figures to be a tough one as the Blue Devils host Chiawana Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
"They're a great team," Meliah said. "At this point they look dominant, but tonight gives us a lot of positives to take into that game."
Wa-Hi 56, Eisenhower 37
Ike (37) - Elmo 2-4 0-0 5, Wingertier 2-3 0-1 5, Vasquez 0-2 0-0 0, Abrams 2-3 1-2 6, Guerrera-Burnett 2-12 5-6 9, Stanford 0-0 0-0 0, Andreas 1-1 0-0 2, McKenna 1-4 0-2 2, Modest 1-9 0-1 3, Terrazas 1-3 1-2 3, Arments 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 13-44 7-14 44.
Wa-Hi (56) - Klicker 0-0 0-0 0, Jacobson 0-3 0-0 0, Crawford 2-5 3-5 7, Jimenez 3-5 0-0 9, Christensen 4-5 0-0 8, Greene 1-4 0-0 2, Hamada 0-4 0-0 0, Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, Molitor 1-5 2-3 4, Hodnefield 4-10 0-0 12, Anderson 7-13 0-3 14. Totals 22-54 5-12 56.
Ike 7 7 8 15 - 37
Wa-Hi 16 14 17 9 - 56
3-point goals - Ike 4 (Elmo, Wingertier, Abrams, Modest), Wa-Hi 7 (Jimenez 3, Hodnefield 4). Total fouls - Ike 12, Wa-Hi 12. Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Rebounds - Ike 31 (Modest 5), Wa-Hi 43 (Christensen 10). Turnovers - Ike 13, Wa-Hi 9. Assists - Ike 1 (Guerrera-Burnett), Wa-Hi (three with 2).