EUGENE Hermiston had the last shot, but came up just short.
On a set play, Hermiston junior point guard Maloree Moss drew the front of the iron on a leaning jumper, missing the Dawgs last opportunity in a 61-60 loss to Willamette in the Class 5A girls basketball quarterfinals Thursday at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene.
Off a timeout with 12.3 seconds left, Hermiston coach Steve Hoffert designed the play to clear out the side Moss was headed to while setting a diversion screen on the other. Moss drove hard and put up a tough shot in the lane, about six feet from the bucket over a defender, but it hit the front of the rim and bounced out of bounds with 3.2 seconds remaining.
We had our chances, Hoffert said. We just couldnt get it done.
In the second half Willamette owned the offensive glass and ripped down 11 boards that almost always led to either a bucket or a pair of their 20 converted foul shots. To compound that issue, Wolverine freshman guard Lexi Bando went to the hole often.
She scored a game-high 21 points, but most of those points didnt come from jump shots or lay-ins. She shot just 2 of 10 from the field, but hit 15 of 16 foul shot attempts.
The Dawgs were able to counteract some of Bandos sharpshooting with some of their own, hitting eight 3-pointers, including four from bench players.
Senior reserve guard Saraya Wise came in and lit it up, hitting all four of her longball attempts in the first half. She was able to end a 13-0 Willamette run in the second quarter with her first long-range shot, then came back and hit one at the 3:03 mark to bring Hermiston within a point, 26-25.
Thirty seconds later she caught the ball and immediately took a shot, almost all in one motion, to hit her third triple of the evening and give the Dawgs a 28-26 lead.
Wises long bombs were in and out of her hands before the tight Wolverine perimeter defense could get to her.
We talked to her about the pressure that Willamette gives, Hoffert said. Shes got a quick trigger and she squared up to the basket and knocked it down.
The Wolverines took a 31-30 lead into the halftime break but Hermiston decided to turn up the defensive intensity late in the third. A full-court man-to-man press confused Willamette into turnovers and all of a sudden their slim lead turned into a 7-point Hermiston advantage.
Moss hit her only field goal of the night in that stretch after swiping an inbound pass and laying it in at the 2:16 mark. Then she stole another inbound pass, but instead scored the deuce from the foul line to give Hermiston a 48-41 lead with a little more than two minutes left in the frame.
The Wolverines slowly chipped away at the Hermiston advantage and eventually broke through on a pair of Bando freebies at the 1:48 mark in the fourth.
Courtney Walchli was able to hit a bucket inside with 28.4 seconds left to give the Dawgs a 60-59 lead, but Carmen Wright drove nearly the length of the floor for a lay-in to give the lead right back to Willamette.
Walchli ended the game with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting to earn Player of the Game honors for Hermiston. Wise finished with 14 points and Hoffert scored 15.
Hermiston will play Mountain View at 10:45 a.m. today.