HERMISTON — The Pendleton girls’ basketball team came out sizzling to grab an early lead, but then the Hermiston Bulldogs reminded everyone why they’re still the favorites in the Columbia River Conference.
The Dawgs (10-5, 3-0 CRC) pounced on Pendleton (5-9, 0-3 CRC) to put the game out of reach by halftime before shifting into cruise control in a 66-38 victory on Friday night.
The game started drifting right into Hermiston’s hands about half way through the second quarter but the fire really started roaring in the last minute before halftime. The Dawgs scored 10 points in that 60 seconds, capped by eight straight from the hand of Hermiston senior Andrea Waters. The guard hit back-to-back 3-pointers and an easy lay-in after the Bucks turned the ball over in quick succession to double a 10-point lead.
Waters finished with 13 points — 3-for-3 from behind the arc — and trailed only Maloree Moss in game scoring. Moss finished with 19 points.
The intensity of the rivalry game started bubbling over in the third quarter when chippy fouls started breaking out on nearly every possession. Both teams were on the brink of heading into the bonus before the fourth quarter was even started.
“Maybe it was a mixture of fatigue and just being aggressive,” said Pendleton’s Courtney Schumacher-Sweek. “The game (was) nearing an end so everybody was getting more aggressive to get the ball back and put it in the basket.”
Physicality followed the the increasing foul fest as loose balls bounded around the court. Schumacher-Sweek called it exhausting. Hermiston coach Steve Hoffert called it sloppy, ugly even — on both sides.
“When you’re scoring a lot of points like that, any coach will tell you your team loses focus on defense and now you’re focused on getting the basketball and running,” he said. “I think (Pendleton) got caught up in the same thing.”
Pendleton struggled from the field and no Buckaroo scored more than seven points, which both Gabby Heehn and Nancy Rosas reached. Even when the Bucks were dictating the action early on, they did so with they’re defense, limiting Hermiston to bad looks at the basket to stay ahead.