What started out as a runaway game for Hermiston on Friday night, ended with Richland applying the emergency brake.
The Bombers, who trailed 33-19 at the half, outscored Hermiston 46-28 in the second half to eke out a 65-61 victory over the Bulldogs at the Dawg House.
“At the beginning of the game, I said it would come down to who controlled the tempo of the game,” Hermiston coach Juan Rodriguez said. “In the first half, we were excited to play. In the second half, we played at their tempo, and their defense caused havoc. Our inexperience showed.”
Richland, which never took the lead for good until the final 20 seconds of the game, went out front 52-50 midway through the fourth quarter, its first lead since 4-3.
“I think the big thing, is after the half we came out with confidence and hit some shots,” Richland coach Hayley Middleton said. “We have some good talent, it’s getting them to use it.”
There were four ties in the fourth quarter, the last being at 61-61 after Hermiston’s Jazlyn Romero hit a pair of free throws.
From there, Richland’s Emily Garza hit a shot with 20 seconds to play, and Jayda Clark hit a pair of free throws to finish off the game.
Romero had 10 of her game-high 21 points in the first half for the Bulldogs (4-6 overall, 2-4 MCC), including seven in the second quarter.
Hermiston led by as many as 17 points in second, but a 3-pointer by Jordyn Clark with seconds to play before the half made the score 33-19.
In the the third, Hermiston led 40-29 with 4:20 to play, but the Bombers went on an 14-7 run to finish out the quarter and pull within 47-43.
“In the first half, we let them hang around when they weren’t playing well, instead of blowing the game open,” Rodriguez said. “In the second half, we weren’t rebounding and getting the 50-50 balls.”
Jordan Thomas added 15 points for Hermiston, while Jayden Ray added eight.
Jayda Clark led the Bombers (6-5, 3-4) with 15 points, while Garza added 15 and Gracie Pierce 12.