COLLEGE PLACE - A solid first three quarters were not enough to earn the Walla Walla Valley Academy girls basketball team its second win of the season Tuesday as the Knights fell, 51-38, to Asotin at home.
After holding even with the Panthers for 24 minutes, WWVA (1-10 in Southeast 2B League play, 0-6 overall) ran out of gas in the fourth quarter and the Panthers went on a 19-6 run that put what had been a nail-biter of a game out of question.
"I was pleased with how our girls played overall," said WWVA head coach Monty Buell. "Asotin was able to pull it together in the fourth, but it was anyone's game before that. They just shot better than us when it mattered, and we turned the ball over too much."
Walla Walla possessed the lead for most of the first half, holding as much as a four-point edge in the first quarter when Robyn Giles hit a 3-pointer with less than two minutes remaining in the frame.
But the Knights were not able to shake Asotin, which trailed by two at the break.
The Panthers snagged the lead back in the third, but a Kristi Buell runner evened the contest with five seconds left in the quarter, leaving the score 32-all with eight minutes remaining.
"We didn't play well in the beginning," said Asotin head coach Rochell Holman. "WWVA has really improved since the last time we played them, and our girls may not have been prepared for that. The second half was a lot more like we expect to play, especially the fourth quarter."
The final quarter was all Panthers, as Asotin took control of the game in a hurry, scoring eight points in less than two minutes on a run capped by a hook shot from JaLisa Jose that made it 40-32.
"We have to find a way to play four full quarters," Buell said. "The simple fact is that we did not accomplish that goal tonight. We really only let down for a couple of minutes, but that was all they needed."
The 8-0 Asotin run proved to be too much for WWVA to overcome. The Panthers maintained at least a five-point lead over the final six minutes.
"Our kids came out looking to score in the fourth," Holman said. "That was the simple difference. We were looking for our shots, and when we got them we were able to convert. The game is much easier to play when you're playing with a lead."
Asotin was led on the evening by 16 points from Jessica Prior, while Emily Field paced the Knights with a game-high 17.
"Tonight was a night we can definitely build on," Buell said. "We got blown out the last time we played Asotin, so to be right there with them is at the very least a confidence boost."
Walla Walla has a quick turn around with its next game coming at DeSales Thursday.
Asotin 51, WWVA 38
ASOTIN (51) - Heitstuman 0-0 0-0 0, Prior 4-8 8-12 16, Weakland 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 4-7 1-2 12, Shriver 1-7 1-2 4, Reynolds 4-9 1-4 9, Jose 4-9 2-6 10, Swearingen 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 0-1 0-2 0, Proctor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-42 13-22 51.
WWVA (38) - Arnzen 1-4 0-0 2, Croft 0-0 0-0 0, Buell 2-4 2-3 6, Avalos 0-0 0-0 0, Hellie 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Field 5-9 6-8. 17, Giles 1-4 0-0 3, Hutton 1-4 0-1 2, Thompson 0-1 1-2 1, Schafer 3-8 0-2 7. Totals 13-34 9-16 38
Asotin 9 11 12 19 - 51
WWVA 11 11 10 6 - 38
3-point goals - Aso 4 (Nelson 3, Shriver), WWVA 3 (Field, Giles, Schafer). Total fouls - Aso 16, WWVA 24. Fouled out - WWVA (Buell). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Aso 28 (Reynolds 9), WWVA 24 (Buell 6). Turnovers - Aso 17, WWVA 25.