HERMISTON - In a game Hermiston needed to win in order to keep pace in the Intermountain Conference girls playoff race, the Bulldogs wore The Dalles-Wahtonka down Tuesday en route to a 62-54 victory.
Priscilla Ena led the charge for Hermiston, scoring a game-high 22 points, including two buckets in the final two minutes, and the Bulldogs outscored the Eagle-Indians 18-9 in the fourth quarter.
"We were looking to go to Priscilla, and she came through for us," Hermiston coach Mike Royer said. "She had a solid game and gave us energy."
Hermiston (7-5 IMC, 12-8) remains two games ahead of Mountain View for the fourth and final IMC playoff spot, while The Dalles-Wahtonka fell to 3-9 in conference and 7-9 overall.
"They're a lot more experienced than we are," The Dalles-Wahtonka coach Dan Telles said. "They played to win in the fourth quarter, and we played not to lose."
The win didn't come easy for the Bulldogs, though, as the Eagle-Indians marched to a 12-4 lead and held a 26-24 halftime advantage.
"The one thing you will see from our team is that we play with a lot of pride," Telles said. "We played well at times, but we're learning."
Tanae Chadwick had a hand in the win for the Bulldogs, scoring 12 points and teammate Amanda Sivey added 10 points - eight of which came at the free throw line.
"We are definitely stoked to get this win," Chadwick said. "I mean, this is one that we had to have in order to make the playoffs, and we knew going in that it would almost be like a playoff game."
Ena was plagued with foul troubles and was sent to the bench in the third quarter at the 3:36 mark with four fouls. The 5-foot-7 junior, however, scored seven points in the fourth quarter, lifting the Bulldogs, who trailed 45-44 heading to the final period.
"She played smart in the fourth quarter defensively, and we needed her on the court," Royer said. "We didn't shoot well from the 3-point line, but we did inside the line, and Priscilla had a lot to do with that."
The Bulldogs made 1 of 14 from behind the 3-point line, but shot 21 of 36 inside the arc. Ena was 10 of 13 from the floor, while Chadwick shot 5 of 7.
"Those two did the job for us offensively," Royer said of Chadwick and Ena. "Tanae has been a solid player for us all year, and lately, she has become a factor offensively."
Down 20-14 early in the second quarter, Ena sparked a 10-0 Hermiston run, scoring eight points off mid-range jump shots. Chadwick put an exclamation point on the run when she converted a jumper to give the Bulldogs a 24-20 lead.
The Dalles-Wahtonka, however, closed the quarter on a 6-0 run, thanks to Sarah Clark, who scored all six points.
"This team wanted this really bad, and we just realized that we needed to step up," Chadwick said. "We had to give 110 percent, and I though our team did that for the most part."
With Ena on the bench late in the third quarter, Clark scored six points to help build a 41-35 lead over the Bulldogs, but Mykael Bothum drilled a 3-pointer and Amanda Douglass, along with Sivey, added buckets to help Hermiston pull within one at 45-44 heading into the final eight minutes.
"The Dalles-Wahtonka has played good basketball and I think are playing much improved," Royer said. "We beat a pretty good team that is dangerous in our conference."
Notes: Clark, who leads the Eagle-Indians in scoring at 13.2 points per game, scored 21 points. ... Anne Barnett led Hermiston with eight rebounds; Bothum finished with six.