WALLA WALLA - The Wa-Hi Blue Devils outscored Richland's Bombers 20-11 in the fourth quarter, but the rally fell just short in a 71-66 Big Nine loss Tuesday night.
Nick Peasley led all scorers with eight points during Wa-Hi's fourth-quarter rally, including two 3-pointers, on two three-pointers.
Sam Arias also scored all seven of his points in the fourth-quarter run.
Wa-Hi cut the lead to three points with one minute remaining on two Arias' free throws, but the Blue Devils couldn't pull any closer. Richland's Tyrell Turner went to the free-throw line in the double bonus after being fouled in the backcourt while Wa-Hi attempted the steal while applying full court pressure. Turner knocked down both free throws and put the lead at five, 69-64.
Arias then missed the front end of the bonus on Wa-Hi's next possession, which caused Wa-Hi to foul again quickly as the time was running out. Richland's Colter Quick nailed both free throws to put the game out of reach with 12 seconds remaining.
Wa-Hi had another rushed shot before time expired, but failed to score.
Arias did provide a much-needed spark off the bench for Wa-Hi, getting his only minutes late in the game. In three minutes, Arias went 5-of-7 from the line and scored a hoop to contribute seven points in his reserve role. Arias also grabbed three boards during the final minutes of the game.
Also contributing off the bench was Moe Handcox, who made a four-point play on a 3-pointer and foul shot during the 14-2 run that brought Wa-Hi back to contention just before halftime. Handcox also added another hoop high off the glass on a runner at the halftime buzzer on his dribble drive to lead the Blue Devils trailing 39-34 at halftime.
A highly competitive first quarter ended with Richland up by just three points. Wa-Hi was then outscored 20-6 in the first five minutes of the second period before going on their own big 14-2 run.
The Blue Devils were outscored 21-12 in the third quarter to set the stage for their fourth-quarter rally.
Leading the way offensively for Wa-Hi was Peasley on 4-of-5 shooting from downtown and 14 total points.
Rob Ferenz added eight points, six boards and two blocks. Josh Eggers dropped in 10 points and three assists.
Wa-Hi caused eight turnovers on five steals, but inconsistent Wa-Hi defense was what coach John Golden said led to the loss.
"We need to defend better," Golden said. "It is hard for us to give up 70 points and expect to win. We need better defensive pressure. That is the bottom line. There are times when we defend really well and others when we don't. Those times are really hard on us. We get down and then we have to expend all of that energy just getting back into the game.
"Richland is a good team," he said. "There is a reason why they've only lost one in league. I just thought that we competed, but defensively we weren't quite there tonight."
Golden was happy with the offensive effort.
"We shot well, over 50 percent," he said. "It is one of our better offensive nights and we'll take that, but we need that same effort defensively all of the time."
Wa-Hi outrebounded Richland, 30-28, but the Bombers had one more offensive rebound than Wa-Hi, 12-11.
The Blue Devils had two more turnovers than the Bombers, 10-8.
The loss pushes Wa-Hi's record to 3-5 in the Big Nine and 7-9 overall. The Blue Devils host
Davis at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Richland 71, Wa-Hi 66
RICHLAND (71) - Turner 3-8 8-11 15, Baker 7-11 0-0 17, Radliff 5-7 2-2 15, Streufert 5-13 0-0 10, Quick 2-7 0-0 4, Malone 0-0 0-0 0, Wheeler 4-6 2-4, Hilt 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-53 12-17 70.
WA-HI (66) - Eggers 4-8 2-2 10, Porter 0-2 0-0 0, Locati 1-2 0-0 2, Handcox 3-7 1-1 9, Peasley 5-7 0-0 14, Lesmeister 0-1 0-0 0, Arias 1-1 5-7 7, Jameson 1-2 0-0 2, Cranor 6-11 2-3 14, Ferenz 4-8 0-1 8. Totals 25-49 10-14 66.
Richland 17 22 21 11 - 71
Wa-Hi 14 20 12 20 - 66
3-point goals - Richland 7-13 (Turner 1-2, Baker 3-5, Radliff 3-4, Streufert 0-2), Wa-Hi 6-13 (Eggers 0-1, Porter 0-1, Handox 2-6, Peasley 4-5). Total fouls - Richland 13, Wa-Hi 15. Fouled out - Richland (Streufert). Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Richland 28 (Streufert 9), Wa-Hi 30 (Ferenz 6). Assists - Richland 6 (Baker 2), Wa-Hi 13 (Egger 3). Turnovers - Richland 8, Wa-Hi 10.