By Luke Hegdal
HERMISTON The Hermiston girls continued their winning ways, beating The Dalles-Wahtonka 83-39 Tuesday and averaging more than 20 points per quarter.
That comes after a 90-40 win last week, with point guard Shoni Schimmel scoring over 30 points in both games.
"Offensively we've been playing better and better," said Head Coach Mike Royer. "Our ball movement is better."
Hermiston got things rolling, Tuesday night, with a 7-2 lead with 5:28 on the clock. A mere three minutes later, the Bulldogs were up 16-5, before the Eagle Indians would rally with six points to pull within five points.
Briana Stacona hit a 3-point shot to start the second quarter, and at the halfway point, Hermiston had doubled The Dalles-Wahtonka score, 32-16.
If the Bulldogs were confident of a win at half-time, they didn't show it on the court, and continued to play as if they were behind throughout the second half.
Midway through the fourth quarter Royer emptied the bench, and freshman Jude Schimmel sank the 80th point for Hermiston.
As strong as Hermiston's offense has been in recent weeks, it may be the defense that has their opponents most flustered.
Sarah VonArx and Michelle Coombs have been strong defenders in the post position, while perimeter players like Schimmel, Stacona, and Sammantha McCloud harry the point guards.
"They can create chaos defensively," Royer said.
McCloud especially seems to relish her defensive roll on the team, and often appears to be in more places at once than is physically possible, and can force her opponents to turn the ball over.
On Tuesday, Schimmel and Stacona were more than ready to capitalize on mistakes, grabbing 7 steals and 6 steals respectively.
As a team, Hermiston had 21 steals for the night, and 16 assists.
Schimmel also had 33 points and 7 assists for the night, aided by VonArx with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Coombs grabbed 7 rebounds and hit 9 points.
The win improves Hermiston's record to 11-0 in the Intermountain Conference and 18-4 overall.
Hermiston will play twice more at home against Bend and Mountain View, before traveling to Pendleton to round out the regular season.
"I'm sure this weekend we're going to get challenged," Royer said. "It's really a huge weekend for all the top teams."
For Royer, though, ending the season with a tough schedule is a good thing. Playoffs are just around the corner.
"That first game would be a tough game," Royer said. "You can't slip up."
Luke Hegdal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.