Hermiston made sure it held Connor Woodward in check Friday night, but Hanford in turn used its entire arsenal of weapons to sneak past the Bulldogs in Mid-Columbia Conference action.
The Falcons used a 19-7 run in the fourth quarter to overcome a six-point deficit to start the fourth quarter and post a 58-52 victory over the Bulldogs (12-5, 8-5 MCC) at the Dawg House.
“We didn’t finish plays, knock down free throws and get crucial stops,” Hermiston coach Casey Arstein said. “At times we stopped Woodward, but guys would get free in the paint. We held him better than last time.”
Woodward had 31 points the first time around, but had just 16 Friday to lead the Falcons (8-10, 6-8 MCC).
“That was a really good game,” Hanford coach Paul Mayer said. “It was a great environment and a lot of energy. Everybody is hounding him (Woodward). I’m proud of the guys for stepping up and getting things done. Conner Milliken and Blake VanderTop came off the bench and did good things for us.”
Hermiston led 45-39 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Falcons scored three quick baskets to tie the score.
Cole Smith hit a big 3-pointer for the Bulldogs with 4:02 to play, and they led 50-47 with 3:15 remaining.
Luke Sutey hit a free-throw line jumper to pull the Falcons within a point, and a pair of free throws by Dan Izquierdo gave Hanford the lead for good with 1:55 to play.
The Bulldogs were 0 for 4 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, and they shot a dismal 3 for 13 for the game.
“It wasn’t the smartest game we played,” Arstein said. “We kind of gave it to them. We had plenty of chances and the guys played hard. We didn’t shoot the ball well, which is something you can’t always control.”
Both teams looked good at the start of the game, exchanging 3-pointers. A deep ball by Cesar Ortiz gave the Bulldogs an 11-6 lead, and Hermiston stretched the lead to 16-10 before Hanford hit some free throws to make it 16-13.
The teams were tied at 20-20 and 22-22 in the second quarter, but baskets by Ryne Andreason, Jordan Ramirez and Adrian Mendez gave the Bulldogs a 28-25 lead at the half.
Hermiston twice led by seven points in the third quarter, and led by six heading into the fourth.
Ramirez led the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Ortiz had 12 and Andreason eight.
“I thought our defense was good,” Mayer said. “We really wanted to defend No. 1 (Andreason), and Blake VanderTop’s defense on him was awesome.”