For 11 minutes Friday night, Hermiston hung with the best team in the Mid-Columbia Conference.
But once Richland got into the swing of things, the Bulldogs found themselves in a whole heap of trouble as the Bombers rolled to an 86-59 victory at the Dawg House.
“They are good,” Hermiston coach Casey Arstein said. “We didn’t help ourselves out with our shot selection, and I’m a little disappointed in our effort on the boards. We have to play better.”
Cole Northrop scored a game-high 25 points for the Bombers, who improved to 7-0 in league play and 9-2 overall.
“They played exactly how we thought they would,” Richland coach Earl Streufert said of the Bulldogs. “They had the intensity in the first quarter. We struggled defensively to start, but the end of the first and start of the second, we played tough.”
The Bulldogs came out and took control in the first quarter as Jordan Ramirez scored nine of his 13 points to give the Bulldogs a 19-15 lead.
Hermiston led 14-4 with 3:50 left in the first, but five points from Northrop helped close the gap.
With 41 seconds to play in the quarter, Northrop scored again to make it 16-13, but Cesar Ortiz drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing for a 19-13 lead.
Ryan Kriskovich scored with two seconds left for a four-point ball game.
The Bulldogs extended their lead to 21-15 with a bucket by Ryne Andreason to open the second quarter, but those would be he only points Hermiston would scored until Ortiz hit a shot with 39 seconds left.
In the middle, the Bombers went on a scoring spree. Northrop had 10 points and Garrett Streufert four, as the Bombers took a 35-23 lead at the half.
“I thought we dug in in the second and things got better offensively,” coach Streufert said.
The Bulldogs (8-2, 4-2) fared no better in the third quarter, where the Bombers went on a 31-16 run, fueled by 13 points from Dhaunye Guice, including three 3-pointers.
“You have to be able to withstand Richland’s runs,” Arstein said. “When they went on those two runs, we couldn’t match them. The second quarter killed us, and giving up 31 in the third. You are not going to beat teams in this league giving up 86 points.”
The teams played an even fourth quarter, but it was too late for the Bulldogs.
“I wasn’t disappointed in the guys’ effort, but you can’t let them have extra baskets,” Arstein said.
Ortiz also had 13 points for Hermiston, while Andreason and Adrian Mendez each added 10.
Guice added 20 points for the Bombers, while Cody Sanderson chipped in 17.
“No. 3 (Guice) makes them work,” Arstein said. “He has some great teammates around him.”
Hermiston will play Saturday at Kamiakin, while Richland hosts Pasco.