Freshman Mia Hernandez is starting to get more comfortable with the Hermiston offense since her move from Sunnyside just before Christmas.

Hernandez had 10 points on Saturday, and Jordan Thomas added 12 points and hauled down six rebounds, but the Bulldogs still came up short in a 68-58 Mid-Columbia Conference road loss to Richland.

“Mia is starting to get comfortable,” Hermiston coach Juan Rodriguez said. “She has come a long way and has done a good job of adjusting. This was a good game for her.”

The Bulldogs (7-11 overall, 5-9 MCC) held their own against the Bombers (11-8, 8-7) in the first. They trailed 16-9, but two baskets by Thomas and one by Kaylee Young made it 16-15.

Gracie Pierce, who led Richland with 12 points, hit a 3-pointer with 1:09 remaining, but Kendall Dowdy matched that with a three-point play for a 19-18 game. Nicole Gall scored with 26 seconds left in the quarter for a 21-18 lead.

Richland would add two more points to its lead in the second to hold a slim 33-28 lead at the half.

Hermiston pulled within one point twice, and tied the scored at 27-27 with a pair of free throws by Sydney Stefani with 1:37 to play in the first half.

Two consecutive baskets by Halee Pierce gave the Bombers a 31-27 lead with 41 seconds remaining.

The Bombers opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 42-30 lead just 2 minutes into the action.

“I thought we started the game really well,” Rodriguez said. “When it got to double digits, they stopped competing. As a coach, that is disappointing.”

Jordan Clark scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Bombers were able to keep their lead intact.

Richland led 68-55, but Hernandez completed a three-point play with 8 seconds left to cut the lead to 10.

Jazlyn Romero added eight points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs, who will host Kamiakin on Tuesday. Jayden Ray added seven points and seven rounds, and Paige Palzinski five points and five rebounds.

The Bombers, who will finish league play Tuesday at Pasco, got 11 points each from Gall and Jayda Clark, who also had seven rebounds.

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