Chiawana defeats Wa-Hi in District championship

Chiawana takes the district title for the third season in a row and knocks Wa-Hi into the consolation bracket despite hitting just three buckets in the second half.

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Wa-Hi's Kate Ferenz makes a flying save attempt on a loose ball but just goes out of bounds in the process. In spite of sometimes inspired play by the Blue Devils, Chiawana downed Wa-Hi in the district championship game held at Chiawana Friday night.

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Wa-Hi down as Kiana Molitor hit the floor on her back and waited for the call from the official. The Blue Devils drew the foul and went down to defeat in Friday's district championship game against Chiawana, at Chiawana.

PASCO - Wa-Hi put Chiawana at the free-throw line 37 times here Friday in the girls Class 4A District Championship game.

The Riverhawks converted 24 of those free tosses and claimed their third consecutive district title with a 45-36 win.

"We were fouling way too much," Blue Devil coach Jill Meliah said. "I told them that whoever was going to be more aggressive and attack was going to win. We sat back on our heels way too much. They (Chiawana) took advantage."

Wa-Hi made 3-of-6 free throws in the first quarter, a trend that haunted the Blue Devils all night as they finished 9-of-20 from the stripe, and kept the Riverhawks off the line over the first eight minutes.

Kate Ferenz hit one of her two free throws with no time left in the first quarter to pull Wa-Hi into an 8-8 tie.

Mikayla Ferenz scored Wa-Hi's only two field goals of the second period, and the Blue Devils converted 2-of-4 free throws, but they sent the Riverhawks to the line nine times.

Led by Delaney Hodgins' perfect 4-of-4, Chiawana converted eight of the nine and got two buckets from Danielle Loving to take a 22-14 lead to intermission.

"I don't know if that was nerves or just the way the cards are," Meliah said of Wa-Hi's 9-of-20 free throw shooting. "They (Chiawana) are a seasoned team. They have two girls (Sadie Sparks and Loving) who have played on three (district) championship teams. Sometimes that success in the past is what it takes to know what it feels like and what to expect (in championship games). We don't have that right now, but hopefully we can establish that."

The Riverhawks scored three field goals in the entire second half, but went to the charity stripe 28 times.

A 3-ball from Bailey Cartwright was the only field goal the Riverhawks scored in the third, but 8-of-12 free throws offset Wa-Hi buckets from Madi Doepker, Torri Crawford and a trey from Jaiden Hodnefield as the Riverhawks took a 33-21 lead to the fourth.

"Defensively, besides fouling too much, I thought we did some good things," Meliah said. "We were effective against (4A district player of the year) Sadie Sparks (holding her to three points), who killed us at home (a 46-39 Wa-Hi loss). We got her in foul trouble and that was a game plan. We just couldn't buy a bucket to save our lives."

Mikayla Ferenz hit a left-handed driving layin, Maddy Sirmon scored a deuce, and Libbie Jimenez hit 1-of-2 free throws to get Wa-Hi within 35-26 with 4:43 left.

Hodgins then took over for the Riverhawks. Hodgins scored eight of the Riverhawks' last 10 points, hitting a bucket and connecting on all six of her free throws, as Chiawana held off Wa-Hi.

The win advances the Riverhawks to the Regional Tournament in Spokane Friday.

An Allie Greene jumper off a Crawford feed got the Blue Devils within 38-31 with 3:50 left, but that was the last Wa-Hi field goal until Jimenez drained a trey at the buzzer to run the final to 45-36.

Hodgins, on a perfect 13-of-13 free-throw shooting night, led all scorers with 20 points.

Mikayla Ferenz led the Blue Devils with nine.

Wa-Hi played Wenatchee, a 36-35 winner over Richland on Friday, for the fourth time this season Saturday night. Saturday's winner faces the No. 2 Greater Spokane League seed Tuesday for a regional ticket.

"Our goal has been to make it to the state tournament," Meliah said. "When I walked in (to the locker room after the game), their heads were down. I told them to knock it off. We have to move on and move on quickly. That made them feel better to know we still have an opportunity to reach our goal. I'm hoping that since we couldn't buy a bucket tonight, that tomorrow, it'll go our way."

Chiawana 45, Wa-Hi 36

WA-HI (36) - Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, Greene 1-1 0-0 2, Doepker 1-2 0-0 2, Crawford 1-6 4-8 6, Molitor 1-4 0-2 2, Doepker 1-3 0-0 2, M. Ferenz 4-13 1-2 9, Hodnefield 1-5 0-0 3, Jimenez 1-7 1-2 4, Sirmon 2-10 1-2 6, K. Ferenz 0-4 2-4 2, Hamada 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 12-56 9-20 36.

Chiawana (45) - Cartwright 1-8 3-10 6, Perez 0-3 1-2 1, Hodgins 3-12 13-13 20, Sparks 0-2 3-4 3, B. Gonzales 0-7 1-2 1, Loving 4-12 3-6 11, J. Gonzales 1-5 0-0 3. Totals 9-49 24-37 45.

Wa-Hi 8 6 7 15 - 36

Chiawana 8 14 11 12 - 45

3-point goals - Wa-Hi 3-19 (M. Ferenz 0-5, Hodnefield 1-5, Jimenez 1-6, Sirmon 1-1, Hamada 0-2), CHS 3-14 (Cartwright 1-2, Hodgins 1-6, B. Gonzales 0-1, J. Gonzales 1-5). Total fouls - Wa-Hi 24, CHS 17. Fouled out - Wa-Hi (M. Ferenz), CHS (Sparks). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Wa-Hi 47 (Sirmon 5), CHS 49 (Loving 14). Turnovers - Wa-Hi 15, CHS 12. Assists - Wa-Hi 6 (Molitor 2, M. Ferenz 2), CHS 6 (Hodgins 2).

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