The last time Hermiston and Hood River Valley met on the basketball court, the Lady Dawgs scored at will in a 41-point blowout. That final was in the girls’ minds Wednesday when they met again in Hermiston, but the Bulldogs got a little more fight than they expected this time.
Hermiston (13-5, 6-0 Columbia River Conference) still picked up the victory, a 55-36 final, but didn’t look good doing it.
It didn’t feel good either, senior Bulldog Jeni Hoffert said.
“We went in with the mindset that we didn’t have to try too hard,” Hoffert said. “We warmed up how we played and we did not warm up seriously, feeling a little lackadaisical. Then game time started and no one had their head in the game.”
“We got taken out and yelled at and just figured it out sitting on the bench,” Jeni Hoffert said. “No one likes sitting on the bench. We realized it’s never too late.”
After losing 74-33 to Hermiston in early January, the Eagles have tightened defensively, averaging just 48 points against per contest since. The improvement may have caught the Bulldogs off guard and helped keep the score close until Hermiston’s run of determination at the end, said Kenzie Yoshimura of Hood River Valley.
“We’ve worked a lot on our press break since then, but mostly we just wanted to work on our defense and keeping the points down,” Yoshimura said. “I think we surprised them a little.”
Though the final was never really in doubt as Hermiston led by double digits for the final 22 minutes of the game, senior guard Maloree Moss said the team isn’t happy with how they won. Future opponents — especially those in the end-of-the-the year tournaments — will be gunning for the Dawgs and a half effort won’t cut it.
“We need to play with heart. We lacked heart and intensity (Wednesday),” said Moss, who led all scorers with 15 points.
Other noteworthy Bulldogs in the game, Heidi Walchli scored 12 points and Gracie Flyg wrangled six steals.
Danae Burke had 11 points to lead Hood River Valley.