Walla Walla High School used a 32-point second half to over come a five-point halftime deficit and pull out a 49-41 win over Sunnyside in season opening girls basketball action here Tuesday.
“Much better start than last year,” Blue Devil coach Morgan Jo Poynor said. “We’re starting to figure out how to work together.”
The Blue Devils, thanks in part to Sunnyside’s Analyssa Maldonado’s 13 first-half points, trailed 22-17 at the break.
Mia Huxoll with five, and Rian Clear with four, kept the Blue Devils tied at 9-9 after one.
Maldonado scored eight in the second to lead the Grizzlies to intermission with the lead.
“It’s hard in the first game, with all the new faces, to execute on offense,” Poynor added. “We figured it out better in the second half.”
Two consecutive buckets from Huxoll, who had eight in the quarter, drew the Blue Devils even at 28-28 with 2:35 left in the third.
A Lauryn Lyons bucket off a Monica Miller feed produced the first Blue Devil lead of the night at 30-28 with 1:25 left.
Benemi Sanchez scored with :30 left to send the game to the fourth tied at 30-30.
“We talked about getting the ball inside in the fourth,” Poynor said. “We executed and got everyone on the same page.”
A midair catch and shoot by Clear on an in bounce pass from Miller got the Blue Devils a 36-34 lead with 5:50 to go.
The Grizzlies fought back and tied it at 38-38 on a Paris Wilson bucket with 3:30 to play.
The Blue Devils got the ball into their 6-2 post on three consecutive trips down the court.
Huxoll converted all three, including putting back two of her own misses, and the Blue Devils had control at 44-38 with 1:52 left.
Clear went coast to coast with a steal for a 46-38 lead and the Blue Devil defense forced three Grizzly turnovers as Wa-Hi held on for the 49-41 win.
Huxoll and Clear lead the way. Huxoll scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Clear scored 12 and corralled nine boards.
“We learned tonight that we can persevere and keep going,” Poynor summarized. “If we can get everyone on the same page, we can fire on all cylinders.”
The Blue Devils open Mid-Columbia Conference play Saturday Dec. 14 at Pasco.
Blue Devils 49, Grizzlies 41
SUNNYSIDE (41) — Zavala 2, Maldonado 18, Weets 4, Wilson 4, Ramirez, Sanchez 5, Schmahl 2, Rodriguez 6, Puente. Totals 17 5-6 41.
WALLA WALLA (49) — Lyons 2, Bergevin, Jausoro, Ogden 3, clear 12, Miller 6, Olivares 2, Huxoll 24. Totals 19 9-13 49.
Sunnyside 9 13 8 11 — 41
Walla Walla 9 8 13 19 —
3-point goals — Sun 1 (Maldonado), WW 2 (Clear, Ogden). Total fouls-Sun 15, WW 12. Fouled out-none. Rebounds-Sun 33 (Zavala 8), WW 37 (Huxoll 10). Turnovers-Sun16, WW 16. Assists-Sun 5 (Zavala 2, Wilson 2), WW 8 (Miller 3).