The senior-laden Walla Walla High School girls basketball team experienced more ups than downs during a successful 2019-20 season.
Wa-Hi won 13 regular-season games — more than doubling the number achieved the previous year (six).
One could hypothesize the Blue Devils’ finest hour came in late December at Lewiston when they won the annual Avista Holiday Tournament on the campus of Lewis Clark State College.
Coach Morgan Jo Poynor said the post-Christmas event is one her student-athletes look forward to. “They love that they get to be out of town and we see quality opponents during the trip,” Poynor said. “It’s also fun to play on the campus of LCSC. The first game is always something we are never sure about just because (of) adjusting to playing on the college court.”
Wa-Hi met Eastmont in the opening round of the tournament.
Pullman transfer Rian Clear scored a game-high 21 points and Monica Miller added 11 in a 47-28 victory.
The Blue Devils limited the Wildcats to eight field goals for the entire game.
“They are a good team,” Poynor said. “We had a good defensive effort that game.
“That allowed us to turn defense into offense.”
The Blue Devils opposed undefeated and tournament co-host Clarkston in the semifinals.
It was a game Poynor’s team was looking forward to.
And it showed.
Clear scored 23 points. Miller had 15 and Emmie Ogden produced 11 points in a 64-54 win in which the Blue Devils maintained upper single-digit to double-digit leads for much of the game.
“After playing them tough the year before, and then having them blow us out of the gym in summer, we were excited for the matchup,” Poynor said.
“The girls played with high intensity and it was really a fun team game,” Poynor said.
The Blue Devils rolled in the championship game. Mia Huxoll scored 21 points and Clear capped an MVP weekend with 20 as Wa-Hi clipped Post Falls, 62-41.
“Post Falls was a scrappy team,” Poynor said. “They were tough, but overall we were able to use our defense (to produce) offense again.”
Adding icing to this championship cake was having Miller named to the all-tournament team, Poynor said.
“Winning the tournament was exciting for us,” Poynor said. “We were really playing some of our best basketball during that time. I’m glad this group of seniors got to experience the tournament going out on top.”