WWCC wins slugfest with Hawks

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WALLA WALLA — Walla Walla Community College’s game with rival Columbia Basin Wednesday at the Dietrich Dome was a defensive slugfest.

The Warriors and Hawks, No. 3 and No. 5 in the latest NWAACC women’s poll, respectively, fought to a 19-all standstill at the half.

But Allie Kelsey’s nine points down the stretch helped break the game open and WWCC came out on top, 46-39, in a battle for East Region supremacy.

The Warriors improve to 7-1 in the East Region standings and 18-2 overall with the win, while Columbia Basin drops into second at 6-2 and 10-10.

Both teams knew the gravity of the game and neither team gave up many easy looks.

“It wasn’t a great offensive performance, but two good teams who know each other,” WWCC coach Bobbi Hazeltin said. “They’re so well coached. She (CBC coach Cheryl Holden) and I know each other so well, and she knew what we were doing. So obviously somebody’s going to hit a couple big shots and that’s going to be the game.”

That was sophomore guard Kelsey, who finished with 12 points on three 3s and a three-point play, and fellow guard Michelle Seitz, who led all scorers on 15 points.

Sierra Higheagle led the Hawks with 12 points.

Walla Walla hit 31.5 percent of its shots and CBC 29.4 percent.

“Every kid. Every kid defended,” Hazeltine said. “We had a specific game plan tonight and we knew their players’ roles, and I thought we did a really nice job of taking them out of what they wanted to do.”

Columbia Basin jumped out to a 7-2 lead to open the game, but the Warriors fought back to tie the game at 10 with 15:25 left in the first.

The teams combined for just five baskets over the final 11 minutes of a hard-fought first half, with Warrior Saige Stefanski hitting a jumper as time expired to even the match at 19 heading into the half.

“I think nerves at the beginning kind of got us,” Kelsey said. “But when we relaxed and played, and ran our offense and executed our gameplan, then I think we were good.”

Neither team found much of an advantage in the opening minutes of the second period, but a pair of Seitz baskets sparked WWCC to a 12-2 run to break the game open and give the Warriors a 38-31 lead with 7:23 left to play.

Columbia Basin wasn’t done, however.

Baskets from Higheagle and Kiesha Avery-Winchester kept the Hawks within striking distance, but Kelsey’s 3 with 1:42 gave the Warriors a 46-37 lead and proved to be a back-breaker as the Warriors ran off the remainder of the clock.

Hazeltine, who recently surpassed 300 wins as WWCC’s coach, couldn’t help but give a celebratory fist-pump after this, her 301st win.

“I just can’t say enough about our defense and our sophomore leadership,” Hazeltine said. “When we needed to take time off the clock, those guards — Brooke (Hawkins), Michelle (Seitz), Allie (Kelsey) and Caitlin (Duncan) — they just know basketball and they know what we want.”

The Warriors host Treasure Valley Saturday at 2 p.m.

WALLA WALLA 46, COLUMBIA BASIN 39

COLUMBIA BASIN (39) — Jones 1-3 0-0 2, Ross 1-3 0-0 3, Yenney 2-6 0-0 6, Wenstrom 0-3 0-0 0, Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Avery-Winchester 2-6 1-2 5, Higheagle 5-11 0-0 12, Bingham 1-2 0-0 2, Depew 3-15 3-4 9. Totals 15-51 4-6 39.

WALLA WALLA (46) — Seitz 5-16 4-5 15, Hawkins 1-3 0-1 2, Jordan 0-4 1-2 1, DeLong 1-2 0-0 2, Duncan 2-9 0-3 4, Rad 0-0 0-0 0, Felgenhauer 3-5 2-2 8, Kelsey 4-12 1-1 12, Siler 0-1 0-0 0, Stefanski 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 17-54 8-11 46.

Halftime — tied at 19. 3-point goals — CBC 5-13 (Ross, Yenney 2, Higheagle 2), WWCC 4-15 (Seitz, Kelsey 3). Total fouls — CBC 13, WWCC 12. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none. Rebounding — CBC 21 (Ross 4, Avery-Wichester 4, Depew 4), WWCC 34 (Seitz 10). Turnovers — CBC 18, WWCC 18. Assists — CBC 10 (Seitz 3, Hawkins 3).

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