PENDLETON — Walla Walla doesn’t exactly do it by committee.
The Warriors have more of a designated-driver approach to their game, and Wednesday night was freshman Shayna Allert’s turn to take the wheel.
The 5-foot-7 guard out of Post Falls, Idaho, drilled 5-of-9 3-point shots, scored 18 points, snagged nine rebounds and dished out four assists as WWCC knocked off Blue Mountain 73-60 in a Northwest Athletic Conference East Region women’s basketball game.
“She came out in the second half and hit four 3s that really gave us a boost,” Walla Walla coach Bobbi Hazeltine said of Allert. “And we really needed that because Blue Mountain had a great game plan, packing it in and challenging our guards to shoot.
“And what the box score doesn’t show is that Shayna held their second-leading scorer to zero points. She shadowed (Erin Ramsey) all night long and she got off only three shots, all really deep.”
The teams were knotted at 32-32 at halftime, but the Warriors outscored the Timberwolves 25-11 in a decisive third quarter.
Walla Walla once again struggled from the field overall, shooting 38 percent, but the Warriors did connect on 10-of-31 3-pointers.
“They challenged us to cast off and in the second half we finally started making them,” Hazeltine said. “And once we opened up the game, we milked the clock on every possession.”
Sophomore point guard Kennedy Corrigan made a pair of key 3-pointers in the second half, Hazeltine said, and she penetrated the Timberwolves defense, dishing off for seven assists and getting to the free-throw line where she was 7-for-8. Corrigan finished with 15 points and Kayla Green was in double figures with 11.
WWCC posts Emily Hancock and Tabitha Wellsandt, who have taken turns leading WWCC’s offense, scored nine and eight points, respectively, and Wellsandt pulled down nine rebounds to share team honors with Allert. The Warriors continued their strong play on the boards, outrebounding the Timberwolves 45-37.
The Timberwolves got the majority of their offense from a trio of players. Kylie Collins led the way with 17 points, Bailey Gregory followed with 16 points and Savannah Heugly contributed 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
“Blue Mountain played tough and had a great game plan,” Hazeltine said. “We were lucky to survive.”
Walla Walla improved to 15-4 overall and finds itself in a three-way tie for second place in the region with a 4-2 record, two games behind unbeaten Wenatchee. The Warriors are just one game ahead of fifth-place Columbia Basin and will face the Hawks Saturday afternoon in Pasco.
“And we haven’t even gotten done with the first half yet,” Hazeltine said of the jumbled region standings. “There are a lot of good teams in the league this year and it is probably going to go down to the wire.”
The top four teams qualify for the postseason tournament, with the top two teams claiming home sites in the first round.
“At this point we are just thinking top four,” Hazeltine said. “We are not even worrying about the home court. Just play one game at a time and stay in the hunt.”
Saturday’s game completes the first round of region play. The Warriors begin the second half Feb. 6 when they entertain Blue Mountain in a rematch.