By David Bashore
Herald sports reporter
Hermiston The second half of the Intermountain Conference season kicked off just as the first half did for the Hermiston Lady Bulldogs with a sweep of Summit and Mountain View.
Having missed the trip to central Oregon due to a family vacation, Priscilla Ena made up for the missed games in style, scoring 36 points over the two contests in helping Hermiston (11-6, 8-1 IMC) remain in a virtual tie with Bend atop the conference table.
Ena utilized a prodigious fade-away jumper to rack up a game-high 22 points in Friday's contest against a youthful Summit team, in which the Lady Bulldogs were never truly threatened in coasting to a 70-40 victory, their largest point total - and most lopsided win - of the season.
"Priscilla shot the ball very well," Hermiston head coach Mike Royer said. "We also did a great job on offense, especially sharing the ball. It's nice to see, really."
Noted around the league for their stingy defense, the Lady Bulldog offense was the primary cause of victory Friday, as eight of the nine players involved for Hermiston registered at least one assist and all were involved in one facet or another of the offensive game. Nevertheless, it was Ena's weekend to shine on the scoresheet.
"I don't do anything special," Ena said. "It's more good passes from the teammates, and being a team player. I'm happy to do my part."
Following the Summit win came a visit from a young Mountain View squad fresh off a stunning victory in Pendleton, which provided Hermiston with an opportunity to put precious distance between themselves and their rivals in the standings.
Again it was Ena who led the charge, scoring 16 points on the game as the Lady Bulldogs triumphed 56-35. Samantha Ramirez added 14 points to the cause, including a pair of treys in the first quarter.
Hermiston actually trailed in the first quarter against the plucky Lady Cougar squad before ripping off a 11-1 run to close the period leading. Mountain View trimmed the deficit back to six at the end of three, but the Lady Bulldogs erupted on a 18-3 run to make the game more of a laugher than it really was.
An off-night for Mountain View sharpshooter Aubrey Gutierrez who still had eleven points and three treys forced the ball into less-experienced hands from time to time, and Hermiston's stifling trap defense forced a bevy of turnovers down the stretch.
"We struggled on offense, but we did a good job hitting our free-throws," Royer said. "It's really nice to see it; this was a big game for us."
Holding the home floor is paramount for the Lady Bulldogs, as doing so will go a long way in determining their postseason fate. First, however, is a return to the road against Hood River Valley tonight before the Lady Bulldogs host Redmond this Friday at 7 p.m.