WALLA WALLA — Wa-Hi’s Tanner Cranor poured in 33 points and grabbed eight boards to lead the Blue Devils to a 57-42 Mid-Columbia Conference victory over the visiting Southridge Suns here Tuesday night.
“Getting the ball inside to Cranor was the game plan,” Wa-Hi coach John Golden said. “We had trouble getting it inside early, but the guys were really looking for Cranor late and he was delivering.”
Wa-Hi was up just 34-30 after three quarters, but Cranor came alive in the fourth quarter. He scored 15 points inside the paint to help secure the win.
The start of the game wasn’t as easy as it could’ve been. Wa-Hi struggled in the first quarter getting the ball inside and the Blue Devils relied on the jump shooting of guard Gabe Porter.
Porter filled the hoop with his jump shot from around the perimeter, nailing four shots and scoring eight points. He scored all but four of the Wa-Hi first-quarter points.
“We talked about getting off to a good start,” Golden said. “Trying to create some energy and I thought Gabe (Porter) hit several key shots early to get us going.”
The Blue Devils continued on in the defensive struggle throughout the second quarter. Cranor started to get it going and scored 10 of the team’s 13 points in the second stanza.
“Southridge is a good defensive team,” Golden said. “They have been playing in a lot of low scoring games. So it wasn’t surprising that it was low scoring early.”
The score at halftime was 25-15 Blue Devils.
The Suns mounted a comeback in the third period, outscoring Wa-Hi 15-9. The Blue Devils left the door open in that quarter, shooting a dismal 3-of-7 from the charity stripe.
In the game, the Blue Devils smade 13-of-20 freebies.
“Our free-throw shooting has been a little inconsistent,” Golden said. “We have been better lately than we were earlier in the year. But it’s going to have to be there down the road for us in close games and in the playoffs. We are going to have to make more of our free throws in key situations.”
The four-point Wa-Hi lead going into the fourth ballooned as high as 18. A 3-pointer at the buzzer by Southridge cut the final margin to a 15-point win for Wa-Hi.
“Southridge can score. They are capable of scoring, but our guys played good defense,” Golden said. “It was a good defensive battle there for awhile and then we found Tanner (Cranor) inside to stretch the lead.”
Besides Cranor, only one other Wa-Hi player scored in double figures — Porter with 11 points.
Parker Toon added six points and five boards off the bench.
The Suns’ Austin Molt scored in double figures with 10 points, and David Mazzel added seven. Southridge’s Brent Schafer pulled down a team-high seven rebounds before fouling out late in the game.
“It was a nice win to get at home and in the middle of the week,” Golden said. “Now we have to get back to work in practice and prepare for the weekend.”
The Blue Devils (11-4 overall, 6-3 Mid-Columbia) travel to Pasco Friday and Hanford Saturday.
WA-HI 57, SOUTHRIDGE 42
SOUTHRIDGE (42) — Schafer 2 3-4 7, Molt 3 4-4 10, Vorheis 0 0-0 0, Cross 1 0-0 2, Mazzel 3 0-0 7, Lopia 0 2-2 2, Mandell 1 0-0 3, Getchell 1 0-0 2, Haberling 2 1-3 6, Farrell 1 0-0 3. Totals 15 8-11 42.
WA-HI (57) — Porter 4 3-6 11, Thonney 2 0-0 4, Arias 1 0-0 2, Cranor 14 5-7 33, Gilmore 0 1-2 1, Toon 1 4-5 6, Warinner 0 0-0 0, Klicker 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 13-20 57.
Southridge 5 10 15 12 — 42
Wa-Hi 12 13 9 23 — 57
3-point goals — SR 4 (Mazzel, Farrell, Mandell, Haberling). Total fouls — SR 21, Wa-Hi 12. Fouled out — SR (Schafer). Tehnical fouls — none. Rebounds — SR 18 (Schafer 7), Wa-Hi 28 (Cranor 8). Turnovers — SR 12, Wa-Hi 9.