MOSES LAKE — Big Bend didn’t win so much as it survived.
On a night where both teams combined for 59 turnovers and neither squad shot better than 43 percent from the field, Big Bend executed enough times in the fourth quarter to outlast Highline 70-63.
After a pair of Maddie Williams free throws, the Vikings led 66-50 with less than three minutes left in the game. However, the Thunderbirds’ full-court press made things interesting with steal after steal until the lead dwindled to seven points before time ran out.
“This was a game of missed opportunities,” head coach Preston Wilks said. “The first half we shot three of 20 from point blank — that’s 15 percent in the first half we were shooting from two-point land. Overall it was 25 percent.
“We were up 10 at half. We could’ve been up easily 20 at the half if we would’ve made some of our two-point opportunities.”
Entering Thursday’s game, the goal set by the players was to finish shots at the rim. That goal went unaccomplished as several missed lay-ups plagued the first half.
Maryah Tipping — a reliable scorer in the painted area — made just one of her six attempts. Madison Wilcox scored by way of volume, posting a game-high 17 points on 6-for-15 shooting.
“I just don’t think our focus is really there,” forward Hailey Garrity said. “One thing is we really want to make sure we’re finishing with our dominant hand and lots of times we just kind of chuck it up without really focusing on it. That’s another thing we’ve been trying to work on.”
Despite the offense coming in fits and starts, Big Bend was able to maintain its lead wire-to-wire.
Highline bested Big Bend’s 28 turnovers with 31 of its own. The Thunderbirds were marginally better from the field, shooting 42.1 percent, but only made one three-pointer.
Highline head coach Amber Rowe made up for the lack of offense with a 2-3 zone in the first half that limited Big Bend’s inside looks and a full-court press that started in the second quarter up until the final buzzer.
“Credit to her,” Wilks said. “For the first half she played a 2-3 zone and she took like two of her tallest kids and moved them out at the top and they know we like to go high-low action against a zone and it really kind of stifled our high-low action for us with those big, long arms and those big kids up at the top against the zone.”
Big Bend nursed a healthy lead for most of the game until Highline got within four points early in the fourth quarter.
Garrity, Wilcox, Williams and Sunnie Martinez collaborated on a 12-0 run to put the game out of reach.
“We really figured out each other’s flow at the moment,” Garrity said. “We knew that we kind of needed to go off and that we were totally capable of it so when the time came someone made a good play then we just kind of built off it and it was like a snowball effect and we just got better and better.”