The Kennewick Lions are on a mission, and the Hermiston Bulldogs were collateral damage Saturday afternoon.
Aislin Fiander scored a game-high 26 points as Kennewick stayed alive in the District 8 playoffs with a 71-52 victory over the Bulldogs (8-14) at the Lions Den.
“They played well and shot the ball really well,” Hermiston coach Juan Rodriguez said of Kennewick. “I thought it would be to our benefit that we hadn’t played in 12 days and they played last night. We just didn’t score in the first half. We were too tentative.”
“We played really well,” Kennewick coach Daron Santo said. “My biggest concern was we hadn’t had a real practice in over a week. We were kind of winded against Mt. Spokane (Friday) and I was worried about that today.”
The Lions had an 18-12 lead after the first quarter, and it didn’t take long in the second for the Lions to put their game into overdrive.
Fiander had 10 of her points in the second, including a pair of 3-pointers as the Lions pushed their lead to 38-18 at the half.
Alexis Stein came off the bench to score six of her 11 points in the second quarter.
“Lexi played well,” Santo said of his 6-foot-2 freshman. “We told her to be aggressive, and I was hoping she would,”
Stein’s play inside cost the Bulldogs, who saw 6-4 post Jordan Thomas rack up three fouls.
The Bulldogs had a bit of a bite to their game in the second half as Jazlyn Romero scored 14 of her 23 points.
“Jaz is aggressive and they have to honor her shot,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez emptied his bench the final 2 minutes of the game, and got a combined seven points from Katelyn Heideman, Courtnee West and Mia Hernandez.
“We are young,” Rodriguez said. “I knew for us to compete, Jaz and Jordan would have to do most of the scoring. The program as a whole, we are in a good place.”
Thomas, in her final game for the Bulldogs, had seven points.
“I was here when she was a freshman,” Rodriguez said. “We have grown together. She is a great kid and it will be sad not to have her on the team, and not just because she is 6-4.”