Nothing like a little drama to start your weekend.
With just two seconds left on the clock, and Hermiston trailing Hanford 49-48, Kaylee Young went to the free-throw line for two.
Young missed the first shot, then the second, but Mia Hernandez grabbed the rebound and threw the ball toward the basket. The ball went through the rim as the buzzer sounded, giving the Bulldogs a 50-49 Mid-Columbia Conference victory Friday night over the host Falcons.
“I did not think she would miss that last one,” Hernandez said of Young. “She’s a good free-throw shooter. I grabbed the ball and threw it up. I didn’t think it was good, but it was. It was great.”
Hermiston coach Maloree Moss said Hernandez was the right person to take that last shot.
“She was the perfect person to shoot that ball,” Moss said. “She is fearless when it comes to that stuff.”
With the win, the Bulldogs (10-7, 7-6 MCC) secured the MCC’s No. 2 seed to the District 8 playoffs. Kennewick is No. 1, while Kamiakin is No. 3.
Hermiston trailed Hanford (4-14, 3-11 MCC) 48-42 with 1:48 left in the game.
Jazlyn Romero and Jayden Ray each sank a pair from the charity stripe to pull within 48-46, but Hanford’s Iliana Moran added a free throw for a 49-46 game with 36 seconds remaining.
Romero, who was fouled hard by Moran, added two more free throws to pull the Bulldogs within 49-48 with 34 seconds left.
The game looked to be all but over when Hanford’s Peyton Kaiser went to the line with five seconds left on the clock.
Kaiser missed both shots, Young rebounded the ball and was fouled by Kaiser with two seconds left.
“That just shows hard work is rewarded,” Moss said. “They never game up when everything was against them. We battled through adversity and got rewarded.”
The Falcons opened the game with a 9-1 run, but baskets by Romero and Kendall Dowdy made it 9-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Hermiston tied the scored at 17-17 last in the second quarter on a pair of free throws by Hernandez, but a 3-pointer by Olivia Davis, and a basket by Moran gave Hanford a 22-17 lead at the half.
Moran scored the first basket of the third quarter, but the Falcons would not score again for more than five minutes as the Bulldogs went on a scoring spree.
Hermiston outscored Hanford 21-10 in the third to take a 38-32 lead, getting two 3s from Romero and one each from Katelyn Heideman and one from Ray.
The Bulldogs had a seemingly comfortable 38-26 lead with 1:34 to go in the quarter, but Moran and Alexis Fulton each drained 3s to cut the lead to six. Moran finished with a game-high 22 points.
Hermiston kept a slight lead over the Falcons in the fourth quarter until a basket by Abby Robinson gave Hanford the lead.
“I am so proud of them,” Moss said of her team. “They didn’t let the refs get in their head. They settled down and got it done.”
Romero led the Bulldogs with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Ray added 12 points and six rebounds. Dowdy finished with a game-high 15 rebounds.
MCC boys basketball
HANFORD 71, HERMISTON 62 — The Bulldogs had a five-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but a 22-8 run by the host Falcons in the fourth handed Hermiston its 13th consecutive loss.
“When we were up five, I thought we were going to win the game,” Hermiston coach Drew Preuninger said. “We were down two or three in the fourth and I called a timeout. I could see in their faces we had already lost. Our lack of experience was the difference. They were making plays and we weren’t.”
The Falcons were up by 12 in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs rallied back to cut the deficit to 35-32 at the half.
“They (Hudson Shupe and Turner Clayton) hit a bunch of 3s,” Preuninger said. “Our kids battled back. We played a pretty good third quarter, and we were playing with a lot of confidence. They got a run on us in the fourth, and we melted from there. I was proud of them, they battled and played hard.”
Trent Pitney led the Bulldogs (2-15, 1-12 MCC) with 20 points, while AJ Ramos-Barron added 14 and Ivan Rangel 10. Pitney scored all but four of his points in the first half.
Shupe led the Falcons with a game-high 24 points.