WALLA WALLA - Then there was one.
DeSales and Waitsburg-Prescott entered Friday's Southeast 2B League girls basketball game tied at 3-0 atop the conference standings.
When the dust settled, W-P stood alone at the top, improving to 4-0 with a 45-34 win over the Irish.
"Anytime you play DeSales, it's always going to be a battle," W-P coach Jerry Baker said. "Their girls came out and gave us a lot of problems. We got what we needed. We hit some big shots."
DeSales jumped to a 4-0 lead before W-P answered with six straight - four from Kristin Potter and a deuce from Genesis Pearson - to grab a 6-4 lead with 2:35 left in the first quarter.
Annie Higgins found Chantel Blanc behind the arc, and Blanc drained a 3 and the Irish led 7-6 after one stanza.
The Irish got two treys from Higgins to complete a 9-4 run and grab a 16-10 lead with 3:10 left in the half.
W-P closed the half on a 8-0 run as Pearson put her height (6-foot, 1-inch) to work. Pearson scored on two put-backs and Potter hit for four as W-P took a 18-16 lead at the half.
Pearson grabbed 14 rebounds - six offensive - in the first half and finished with 19 boards for the game.
"She (Pearson) had an unbelievable game," Irish coach Tim Duncan said. "We didn't block out at times. But, holy cow, my hat's off to her."
"She's done that all year for us," Baker said of Pearson. "I told the girls at halftime, ‘someone else has to get in there (and rebound). We can't rely on Gen to do it the whole time.'"
W-P had trouble with the Irish press all night, but with Potter breaking the press, W-P hit 8-of-11 shots in the third period.
Megan Withers had six and Krystal Harris hit a trey for a 33-23 W-P lead with 1:37 left in the third.
A trey from Stephanie Ferrel and two free throws by Erin Giusti, and the Irish were hanging around, down 35-28 to start the fourth quarter.
Potter, W-P's main ball handler, fouled out with 6:12 left and W-P up 40-28. The Irish looked to take advantage as Blanc hit a trey and a deuce, and Higgins hit 1-of-2 free throws to get the Irish within 41-34 with 4:27 remaining.
Hailey Goenen came off the W-P bench for Potter and got the W-P ship steadied.
"They gave us a lot of pressure and we didn't handle it real well," Baker said. "They're the most aggressive team we've played. I tried to get her (Potter) out before she fouled out. I blew that. I was really worried, but I didn't have any problem putting Hailey (Goenen) in as she is real fast and quick."
With Goenen taking pressure off the W-P offense, Withers converted a dish from Ronnie Hulce for a 43-34 W-P lead with 4 minutes left.
The Irish failed to score over the last 4:27, missing the front end of two 1-and-1s and all six shots from the field.
A Hulce coast-to-coast drive with a steal sealed the deal for W-P at 45-34 with 2:30 left.
"They had a hard time getting the ball in bounds (against our press)," Duncan said. "Our biggest thing was we couldn't score enough so we could press more. That hurt us."
Blanc hit all three of her 3s and finished with 11 points to lead DeSales. Higgins added nine, but the Irish were only 10-of-41 from the field for the night.
"I'm not disappointed with how we played offense until the second half," Duncan said. "We did some things that were uncharacteristic of us. We're looking to post-up. That's not us. We've got to be swinging the ball. We're going to score off of ball movement, not trying to drive the ball inside."
Potter finished with 12 points to lead W-P. Pearson added 10 points to go with her 19 boards. Hulce and Withers finished with eight each.
"We've got a ways to go," Baker said. "We've got tough games to come."
DeSales traveled to Dayton Saturday and W-P traveled to Tri-Cities Prep.
Waitsburg-Prescott 45, DeSales 34
W-P (45) - Potter 6-13 0-0 12, Goenen 0-1 0-0 0, Huxoll 0-0 0-0 0, Hafen 0-2 0-2 0, Harris 2-7 1-2 7, Hulce 3-5 2-6 8, Withers 4-8 0-0 8, Pearson 5-10 0-2 10, Baker 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 20-46 3-13 45.
DESALES (34) - Konen 0-3 0-0 0, Higgins 3-10 1-4 9, Buley 0-1 0-0 0, Giusti 0-5 5-8 5, Blanc 4-5 0-0 11, Moberg 0-0 0-2 0, Crowley 0-3 0-0 0, Zander 1-5 2-2 4, A. Lyons 0-1 0-0 0, Ferrel 2-8 0-2 5. Totals 10-41 8-18 34.
W-P 6 12 17 10 - 45
DeSales 7 9 12 6 - 34
3-point goals - W-P 2-8 (Potter 0-1, Harris 2-6, Withers 0-1), DeS 6-19 (Konen 0-1, Higgins 2-4, Giusti 0-3, Blanc 3-3, Zander 0-2, A. Lyons 0-1, Ferrel 1-5). Total fouls - W-P 19, DeS 16. Fouled out - W-P (Potter). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - W-P 42 (Pearson 19), DeS 29 (Blanc 5, Crowley 5). Turnovers - W-P 20, DeS 20. Assists - W-P 10 (Potter 4), DeS 7 (Zander 2).