Hermiston faced a 10-point deficit at the half. The 3-point shots weren’t falling, and Richland was dominating the boards.
Good thing every game has two halves.
Jazlyn Romero scored 11 of her game-high 14 points in the second half, and the Bulldogs outscored the Bombers 34-19 over the last two quarters en route to a 47-42 Mid-Columbia Conference win on Jan. 7 at Art Dewald Gymnasium.
“Tonight, we showed our mental toughness,” Romero said. “What we have been taught, showed tonight.”
Any way you slice it, the win could be classified as the biggest victory for Hermiston (6-4, 3-3 MCC) since it joined the MCC last season.
“This is confidence booster tonight,” Romero said. “We are competitive in the MCC. That will shift over into our next game against Walla Walla (on Friday).”
Trailing 23-13 at the half, Hermiston coach Maloree Moss challenged her players to shut down the Richland perimeter and apply more pressure going into the third quarter.
“We put pressure on them a little bit more, and we switched to zone, which helped,” said Moss, whose team has won four games in a row. “They didn’t have a 3 in the second half. The girls had a ton of heart. This is a big win for us — they earned this one.”
Richland (6-5, 5-2 MCC) scored to opened the second half and take a 25-13 lead. The Bulldogs slowly chipped away at the lead, getting seven points from Romero.
Bailey Young was left all alone down low with 2 seconds left in the third. She put the ball off the glass and in the basket to tie the score at 30-30 with one quarter to play.
Hermiston took its first lead, 35-34, on a 3-pointer by Katelyn Heideman with 5:46 to play. Heideman’s second trey of the quarter put the Bulldogs ahead for good with 2:38 to play.
The Bombers tried to get back in the game, but an intentional foul on the part of Megan Holm, sent Kendall Dowdy to the line for two. She made one free throw to give her team a 45-42 lead.
“That was huge for her to step up and make that free throw,” Moss said. “She wasn’t scared to have the ball in her hands.”
The Bombers fouled again, but this time Romero made both free throws with 16 seconds remaining to seal the win.
“When that happens, you have to take advantage of it,” Romero said. “They are a really good team.”
Dowdy added five points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs, while Young had eight points and three rebounds. Mia Hernandez and Jayden Ray each had five rebounds, while Romero added five rebounds, five steals and a handful of assists.
“Jaz has come into her own and sees the floor really well,” Moss said. “It’s really awesome to see.”
Jordyn Clark and Laura Smith each had 11 points to lead the Bombers.