The Hermiston Bulldogs girls basketball team was handed its fourth straight loss on Saturday night, as the Kamiakin (WA) Braves came to The Dawghouse and left town with a 59-40 victory.
But even with those circumstances, Bulldogs coach Juan Rodriguez wasn’t all that disappointed.
“Actually I’m pretty happy with the performance tonight,” he said. “This last week has been kind of rough and it hasn’t been anything basketball-wise, we’ve just been lacking leadership when we get to the tough moments. Yesterday we challenged the girls to come out and be leaders and play and compete hard and I thought they did that very well.
“I know the scoreboard doesn’t reflect it and it’s not something fans might see, but they came out and turned the corner psychologically and that’s what’s been affecting us the last few games. Sure there’s lots of basketball mistakes out there, but our main concern was making sure that psychologically we are ready to play for the rest of the season.”
The Bulldogs (2-4) started the game playing well, displaying great ball movement on offense and giving great efforts on the defensive end of the floor. Hermiston led for the entire first quarter and held a 9-7 advantage after one full. But that’s when Kamiakin started showing that it was the better team.
The Braves (4-0) took the lead at 13-11 with just over six minutes left in the second quarter on a 3-point play by Oumou Toure and then stayed in front for the remainder of the game. Hermiston tallied just seven points in the second quarter, and also played out a 6-minute drought between made field goals.
But just as Rodriguez said, the Bulldogs never hung their heads throughout the rest of the game. The team worked into plenty of good looks at the basket, registering 55 shot attempts but again struggled with the execution as they sank just 16 of those.
What pleased Rodriguez was the 17 offensive rebounds that his team grabbed in the game.
“That’s the hustle plays that are hard to teach,” he said. “We’re missing little lay-ins that’ll start going in at some point, but the girls are working towards those offensive boards and that’s what I’m happy about. They did a good job of competing and eventually that’ll pay off.”
Maddy Juul and Rileigh Andreason each scored nine points to lead Hermiston’s offense, and Jordan Thomas pitched in eight points for Hermiston. Andreason scored Hermiston’s first 3-pointer with 6:30 left in the game, and the Bulldogs were just 2-14 from there overall.
Oumou Toure led Kamiakin with a game-high 23 points and Kylie Larson added 10 for the Braves.
Hermiston will travel to Hillsboro for its next game at 5 p.m. Saturday.
KHS 7 18 15 19 — 59
HHS 9 7 8 16 — 40
KAMIAKIN — O. Toure 23, K. Larson 11, K Hollie 4, R. Clark 4, C. Williams 4, S. Brown 2.
HERMISTON — M. Juul 9, R. Andreason 9, J. Thomas 8, K. Padilla 5, H. Meyers 5, J. Romero 4.
3-pointers — KHS 3, HHS 2. Free throws — KHS 8-10, HHS 6-12. Fouls — KHS 13, HHS 9.
Contact Eric Singer at (541) 966-0839.