With three contests remaining on the regular season slate, the emphasis now for No. 6 The Dalles Wahtonka is on finishing with a full head of steam to make some thing magical happen in the postseason.
All of the elements are there and so is the confidence, but the biggest is putting Tuesday’s 50-44 loss to No. 3 Hermiston far in the rearview mirror.
“After the game, we told the girls to keep their heads up,” said TDW coach Craig Compton. “We have to prepare for Pendleton now. There is nothing we can do about a loss once it is over.”
In Tuesday’s Columbia River Conference showdown, Emily Bailey scored 16 of her team-high 21 points in the opening stanza, the Tribe led by scores of 8-2 and 23-15, but inched ahead, 23-20, at halftime.
In the third frame, the Bulldogs used an 18-8 rally to lead 38-31 with eight minutes left in regulation.
Down 44-36 with three minutes left in the fourth, Katie Conklin swished a 3-pointer, and after a Hermiston turnover, the Tribe hit a basket to make it 44-41 with two minutes on the clock.
However, the Bulldogs (15-5 overall, 6-0 league) canned clutch free throws and McKenzie Byrd added a layup to complete a 6-3 run to seal the win.
Byrd and Jansen Edmiston led Hermiston with 15 points apiece, and Shelby Sanders dropped 10.
For TDW, Conklin rang out 12 and Brooke McCall notched three points, as the team hit 17 field goals, five from long distance, and added a 5 for 9 effort from the free throw line.
“We came in with a good game plan, which helped keep the game closer and more competitive,” Compton said. “We just committed way too many turnovers (21) throughout the game.”
With at least one home playoff game in the future, Compton is hoping this team shows an ability to bounce back so that they are hitting on all cylinders for an extended March.
“We want this team playing its best ball when it really matters,” the coach said. “We have three games left. Our goal is to try to win two or three down the stretch just to get ourselves on the right path. We need to make our matchups the best that we can. It is all about being ready to face the challenge we are faced with.”
TDW (17-3, 4-2) hosts Pendleton (8-13, 2-4) at 7 p.m. Friday.