WALLA WALLA - Wa-Hi celebrated senior night here Tuesday in Columbia Basin Big Nine girls basketball action.
The Blue Devils gave their departing seniors a deserving "Thank you" as Wa-Hi led from the get-go and posted a 62-32 win over Eisenhower.
"It feels like everything is kind of winding up," Blue Devil senior starting guard Andrea Hamada said. "It's (one of) the last times that my teammates and fellow seniors (Jordan Heiser, Megan Thompson, Maddie Jacobson) get to play on this court. It was an emotional night, but we still had a purpose to come out and beat Ike, and set the tone for the rest of league and for getting into the playoffs."
Maddy Sirmon and Torrie Crawford got the Blue Devils off on the right track. Crawford converted a Sirmon feed and then returned the favor which Sirmon finished for a 4-0 Wa-Hi lead 30 seconds into the game.
Wa-Hi continued to pull away as Mikayla Ferenz and Jaiden Hodnefield drained 3s and Wa-Hi led 17-10 after one quarter.
Libbie Jimenez dropped in both of her 3-point attempts to lead Wa-Hi to an 18-5 advantage over the second eight minutes. The Blue Devils went to intermission with this one under control with a 35-15 lead.
It wasn't perfect as Wa-Hi kept the Cadets in contact by sending Ike to the foul line 14 times. The Cadets converted nine of those, but Wa-Hi held Ike to 3-of-25 shooting from the field. Sirmon cleaned up a lot of those misses with 11 boards in the first half.
"We needed to try and play our game as Eisenhower is down right now," Blue Devil coach Jill Meliah said. "The first half, we were foul happy, out of position, and not playing to our capability. In the second half, we were better. Better executing, better defensively, better at moving our feet instead of getting reach happy."
Ike only went to the free-throw line twice in the third period, Jimenez hit her third triple, and the Blue Devils stretched the lead to 46-23 after three.
"We wanted to focus on what we do and how we play," Hamada said. "We wanted to play our game (to get better)."
Hamada culminated her senior night with two triples in the fourth.
Wa-Hi hit 8-of-16 from behind the arc for the game as the Blue Devils pulled away to the final 62-32 win.
"It (shooting the 3) felt good," Hamada said. "So why not (let it go)."
Sirmon posted a double-double with a game-high 13 points and a game-high 17 rebounds as Wa-Hi improved to 9-2 in league.
"Maddy (Sirmon) can just jump," Meliah said of her 5-foot-10 freshman. "She has a nose for the ball. She's led us in rebounding the last four games, which has been huge."
With 27 seconds left, Meliah called a timeout to take Thompson, Heiser and Hamada out of the game for a well-deserved moment of recognition from the Blue Devil faithful. Unfortunately, Jacobson had to enjoy the moment from the bench as her season ended two weeks ago with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
"The seniors have meant a lot to this program," Meliah said. "They have been excellent leaders for the young kids on our team. It was nice to be able to honor them like that."
Wa-Hi concludes the regular season with a shot at tying for the CBBN 4A championship, and avenging a 63-39 loss, when Chiawana visits at 5:45 Saturday.
"It (the Chiawana game) feels like a rivalry game," Hamada said. "They're coming to our house and we want to show them Blue Devil basketball."
Wa-Hi 62, Eisenhower 32
EISENHOWER (32) - Elmo 1-4 1-2 3, Sanford 1-5 0-0 2, Pena 0-2 2-3 2, Guerra-Burnett 1-7 5-9 7, Wingerter 1-2 0-0 2, Vasquez 1-9 1-2 4, Armenta 2-10 0-0 5, Whitefoot 1-8 3-4 5, Behurst 0-0 0-0 0, Burch 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 9-49 12-20 32.
WA-HI (62) - Thompson 0-1 0-0 0,Greene 0-2 0-1 0, Crawford 2-7 4-6 8, Molitor 1-5 2-2 4, Doepker 0-4 3-4 3, M. Ferenz 3-10 2-2 9, Hodnefield 2-5 0-0 5, Heiser 0-0 0-0 0, Jimenez 3-4 0-0 9, Sirmon 6-12 1-2 13, K. Ferenz 1-1 0-0 2, Hamada 3-6 0-2 9. Totals 21-57 12-19 62.
Eisenhower 10 5 5 12 - 32
Wa-Hi 17 18 11 16 - 62
3-point goals - Ike 2-8 (Elmo 0-1, Sanford 0-1, Pena 0-2, Vasquez 1-2, Armenta 1-2), Wa-Hi 8-16 (Thompson 0-1, M. Ferenz 1-4, Hodnefield 1-4, Jimenez 3-3, Hamada 3-4). Total fouls - Ike 13, Wa-Hi 16. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Ike 36 (Whitefoot 4), Wa-Hi 49 (Sirmon 17). Turnovers - Ike 21, Wa-Hi 13. Assists - Ike 5 (Elmo 3), Wa-Hi 14 (M. Ferenz 5).