PASCO - Wa-Hi hit four of its first five shots from the field here Friday in District boys basketball tournament elimination-game action.
But the Blue Devils could not maintain their hot start as Wa-Hi finished 16-of-52 from the floor, and Chiawana prove that it is hard to beat a team three times in a season with a 52-41 win to eliminate the Blue Devils.
Wa-Hi had 59-56 and 76-54 regular-season wins over the Riverhawks. But in their third matchup, the Riverhawks shot just well enough (18-of-50 from the floor) for the win when it really counted.
"We're living proof of that (tough to beat a team three times)," Blue Devil coach John Golden said. "We go up to Moses (Lake) and beat them (56-54 in the opening round of District play) after they beat us twice.
"I was just disappointed that we didn't shoot better," Golden continued. "We defended well enough to win, we just didn't shoot well enough. I'm disappointed for them (Wa-Hi), because if we are going to go out, let's go out playing as well as we can. I didn't think we shot it as well (as we can). The effort has been there, especially the last 10 games. That's what's so frustrating, we just didn't shoot it well enough."
Following Nick Peasley's putback of his own miss, the Blue Devils grabbed an 8-7 lead with 4:50 to play in a back-and-forth first period.
Wa-Hi got it tied on a deuce from Tanner Cranor at 11-11 with 3:14 to go in the first.
A Jordan Downing bucket opened a 6-0 Riverhawk run to close out the first as the Riverhawks grabbed a 17-11 lead.
Defense took over in the second. Chiawana went 2-of-13 from the floor and the Blue Devils went 3-of-14. A Spencer Locati trey beat the halftime buzzer and cut the Riverhawk lead to 24-21 at intermission.
"Give them (Chiawana) credit, they got into us defensively," Golden said. "But I was really proud defensively of how well we played, and how far we've come (defensively). The No. 1 concern coming into the season was how we were going to stop somebody. They bought in and worked hard."
Peasley scored four of his team-leading 10 points, and dished to Josh Eggers for a bucket as the Blue Devils took a 31-30 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Chiawana got a 3 from Josue Torres to ignite a 7-1 run to close the third, and the Riverhawks took a 37-32 lead to the fourth.
On this night, the Blue Devils had no offensive answer.
Wa-Hi got a trey and a deuce from Eggers over the first seven minutes of the fourth, but that was all the scoring from the field.
Chiawana's Miquiyah Zamora, the 4A District co-player of the year who the Blue Devils limited to eight points, went coast-to-coast to give the Riverhawks a 49-39 lead with 2:01 left.
Wa-Hi ran out of time.
"It's tough when you don't shoot the ball like you should," Peasley said. "We didn't play as well as we should've. We had a couple of games like this earlier in the season, but the last couple of games, we've been shooting the ball really well. Sometimes, it just doesn't fall."
Downing led the Riverhawks with a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds.
Cranor grabbed 11 boards for Wa-Hi and Rob Ferenz pulled down nine as Wa-Hi outrebounded the Riverhawks, 41-34.
The loss ends the Blue Devil season at 10-13 and marks the end of Wa-Hi careers for eight seniors. Eggers, Blake Rowley, Will Parnicky, Moe Handcox, Peasley, Michael Lesmeister, Kyle Jameson and Ferenz saw their careers in the Blue and White end in a run that carried the Blue Devils into the second week of the District Tournament.
"It was a great team," Peasley said. "At the end of the season, we really proved who we were. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for us tonight, but I'm happy (with the overall season)."
"We had eight seniors that worked really hard," Golden said. "It's always tough in a loser-out game.
"I wasn't sure (last summer) what we were going to have (as a team)," Golden added. "They (the seniors) made a commitment the last 10 or 12 games to each other and to the team. It really showed on the court. I'm going to miss them. They were a vital part of what we did."
"They (fellow seniors) are awesome," Peasley said. "I've been playing with these guys since I was in the sixth grade. We had great chemistry. Practice was fun, but when it was time to work, we all worked. I'm going to miss them a lot."
Chiawana 52, Wa-Hi 41
WA-HI (41) - Eggers 3-8 0-2 7, Rowley 0-0 0-0 0, Porter 1-1 0-0 2, Locati 1-6 0-0 3, Handcox 1-7 1-2 3, Peasley 4-12 2-2 10, Jameson 1-4 3-4 5, Cranor 2-7 1-4 5, Ferenz 3-7 0-2 6. Totals 16-52 7-16 41.
CHIAWANA (52) - Torres 3-9 2-2 11, Downing 6-16 4-4 16, Z. Mendoza 3-8 3-4 10, B. Mendoza 1-4 0-0 2, Perez 0-4 0-0 0, Briones 0-0 0-0 0, Zamora 3-4 1-3 8, Babinchunk 2-3 1-4 5, Henderson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-50 11-17 52.
Wa-Hi 11 10 11 9 - 41
Chiawana 17 7 13 15 - 52
3-point goals - Wa-Hi 2-10 (Eggers 1-1, Locati 1-2, Handcox 0-2, Peasley 0-4, Ferenz 0-1), CHS 5-23 (Torres 3-9, Downing 0-1, Z. Mendoza 1-5, B. Mendoza 0-3, Perez 0-3, Zamora 1-2). Total fouls - Wa-Hi 16, CHS 15. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Wa-Hi 41 (Cranor 11), CHS 34 (Downing 9). Turnovers - Wa-Hi 9, CHS 5. Assists - Wa-Hi 11 (Peasley 4), CHS 12 (Downing 4).