MOSES LAKE — Jamie Loera was wide open in the left corner after a Southridge defender gambled for a steal.
It was her final basket of the game and it also made a little history. Loera needed 22 points to reach 1,000 for her career; she ended with a game-high 24.
“Tonight it wasn’t really a goal just because I knew in the first half our offense was struggling, but then just pulling away, getting the momentum going and then reaching that point was amazing,” she said. “It was an exciting moment.”
Moses Lake overcame a slow start offensively to stifle Southridge and win its season-opener 53-15.
Southridge put together a 6-0 run to take an 8-3 lead in the first quarter before Loera tied the game with five straight points. Despite a multitude of turnovers and missed shots, Moses Lake’s defense was the catalyst for a 17-0 run that stretched from the end of the first quarter through most of the second. The Suns did not make a field goal in the second quarter and their one point came from a free throw by Emmee Ball.
“For a first game, we’ll take it,” head coach Matt Strophy said. “We battled through it and I think that shows a little inner strength, a little mental toughness to battle through what can seem frustrating because they may have wanted to press Southridge, but I didn’t want to because I don’t want that to be what we have to do to get our energy going.”
Madisyn Clark ended the second-quarter scoring dearth with a lay-up to give the Chiefs the lead for good. Clark, a sophomore reserve, scored six first-half points and 14 total.
“Her confidence is really high and we give her that confidence, too,” Loera said. “So her being able to come off the bench and be able to do what she can do really makes us trust her and so she can do all she wants.”
Again, Moses Lake went on a lengthy run in the third quarter to push its lead to 20 points. After spotty shooting in the first half, Moses Lake upped its aggressiveness and sought out the free throw line. Abby Rathbun and Clark combined to score seven points from the charity stripe.
Up big late in the third quarter, Strophy substituted Loera and was perplexed by the smattering of boos he heard.
The meticulous coach had overlooked one thing.
“Jamie came out and they said, ‘Yeah, I’ve got 21, I need 22 points,’” Strophy said. “I have it written down in my classroom, but I just forgot. I think that was very meaningful to have it done at home.”
Score by quarters
ML — 8 12 19 14 53
SR — 8 1 4 2 15
Loera 24, Clark 14, Rathbun 7, Farrya Sandmann 3, Ellie Mayo 2, Camille Carpenter 2, Kiera McPartland 1
Next: at Walla Walla, Saturday, 7 p.m.