By BRAD MOSHER
The (La Grande) Observer
The Lady Cougars got just what they needed Thursday in the Old Oregon League's district tournament.
Wallowa picked up a 65-50 win against Joseph that allowed coach Annette Moeller the chance to rest her starters and give her bench some extended playing time.
The victory earned Wallowa a rematch with Pine-Eagle today at 12:30 p.m. in the Baker High School gymnasium. After defeating Pine-Eagle in the first game of the league season, Wallowa has dropped two straight games to the Lady Spartans, the last being in a playoff game that made Pine-Eagle the second seed in the tournament.
The win was something the bench needed if they were going to prepare to meet Pine-Eagle. "It gave the them a chance to connect and play with some of the starters," Moeller said. "It also gave them a chance to get rid of the jitters."
Joseph made a big run at the Lady Cougars in the final quarter, showing Moeller she'll have to prepare for a Joseph team next year with some "great outside shooters."
Wallowa jumped out to an early 12-2 lead on the Lady Eagles, then rolled to a 22-9 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
Ninety seconds into the second quarter,the Lady Cougars made it 28-9 and another basket by Skylar Waters gave Wallowa a 30-9 lead.
Joseph started to find its scoring touch almost halfway to the intermission, with Shayna Cooper hitting a jumper, followed by Hailee McClure's three-pointer with 4:31 left.
The Lady Cougars responded with a pair of baskets from Shai Allen and Shawna Chrisman before Joseph could score again, but Holly Taylor's shot with 3:03 left in the half made the score 34-15.
In the second half, even with Moeller mixing her bench and starters, Wallowa kept pulling away to a 46-23 lead halfway through the third quarter.
Joseph's Breanna Gibson caught fire, hitting two straight three-point shots, cutting Wallowa's lead to 46-29. Hailee McClure added another three-point shot with two minutes left in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 54-32.
Wallowa had a 58-34 lead going into the final quarter, and the Lady Eagles took advantage of the Wallowa bench to outscore them by a 16-7 margin.
Wallowa's Skylar Waters led all scorers with 18 points, while Morgan Waters finished with 11. Shawna Chrisman added seven points while Sara Chrisman, Bekah Jamerson, Taylor Harshfield and Kristyn Young each had five points. Shai Allen put in four points, while Breanna Wallace added three. Sally Mary Blair finished with two points.
Noel Taylor and Gibson both led the Joseph scorers with 13 points each, while McClure put in 10 points and both Paige Hunting and Shayna Cooper finished with four each. Sidney Cooney and Jade Delury each scored two points.
Wallowa hit more than half its shots in the first two periods (17 of 33) before Moeller moved to her bench in the second half. Joseph struggled with 37 percent (nine of 24), then got colder in the second half hitting just 30 percent.