ASOTIN — In the year 2022, COVID-19 protocols are just something teams have to deal with and adjust to.

Garfield-Palouse’s girls were without leading scorer Mak Collier for their nonleague matchup against Asotin on Tuesday at Asotin High School.

But Madi Cloninger, the Vikings’ second-leading scorer and Kenzi Pedersen stepped up in her absence and scored 36 of the Vikings’ 38 points in their 38-29 win against the Panthers.

“We had a long winter break and since we were missing Collier, our offense took a while to get going,” Garfield-Palouse coach Garrett Parrish said. “The defense stepped up and kept the lead and we did a great job maintaining.”

It took a while for the two offenses to find their stride. At the end of the first quarter the Vikings (7-2) held a slim 7-6 lead.

The second was when things started to pick up offensively, with the teams trading the lead five times.

Cloninger, who finished with 18 points, drilled a corner 3 with 20 seconds remaining in the half to give Garfield-Palouse a 17-13 advantage. The Vikings steadily built their lead from there in the second half.

“I’m really proud of how the girls responded tonight,” Parrish said. “We were forced to shift some girls around on short notice. It took a while for them to hit their stride. But once they found it, they managed to maintain it.”

The biggest assets for Vikings were the presence of Maci Brantner and Pedersen defensively.

Brantner finished with two points, but she had four steals and six rebounds. Pedersen had almost identical stats in the final 16 minutes, with four steals and five rebounds, and she had 18 points on the night.

“Maci on defense has been a huge asset all year,” Parrish said. “She’s our defensive identity, she covers the floor.

“Kenzi also covered a lot of ground inside and together they took them out of their offense.”

To begin the fourth quarter, Asotin (1-7) had an opportunity to go on a run but failed to convert each time.

Emmalyn Barnea got a steal, with Haylee Appleford getting fouled at the other end, but she missed both free throws.

On the next possession, Kayla Paine, who paced the Panthers with nine points, registered a steal and made a nice move inside but failed to score. The ball went out of bounds off Gar-Pal, so Asotin retained possession.

However, Paine attempted a 3 off the inbounds play but missed the mark.

On the ensuing Vikings possession, Cloninger hit a 3 with 6:52 to go to put Gar-Pal up 28-20.

Cloninger hit two more 3s in the final two minutes to put the Vikings up 35-26 to put it away.

“We looked at her to score tonight,” Parrish said. “Sometimes they don’t always fall but they were falling for her tonight and that was huge.”

GARFIELD PALOUSE (7-2)

Kara Blomgren 0 0-0 0, Zoe Laughary 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Cook 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Cook 0 0-0 0, Madi Cloninger 6 0-0 18, Maci Brantner 1 0-0 2, Kenzi Pedersen 6 5-12 18. Totals 13 5-12 38.

ASOTIN (1-7)

Izzy Bailey 1 1-2 4, Emmalyn Barnea 0 0-0 0, Emalie Wilks 2 1-1 6, Caylie Browne 0 0-0 0, Kayla Paine 3 2-4 9, Carlie Ball 2 1-2 5, Emily Elskamp 1 0-0 2, Haylee Appleford 1 1-4 3. Totals 10 6-13 29.

Garfield-Palouse 7 10 9 13 — 38

Asotin 6 7 7 9 — 29

3-point goals — Cloninger 6, Pederson, Bailey, Wilks, Paine.

BOYS Asotin 49, Garfield-Palouse 30

Asotin coach Perry Black labeled his team’s nonleague win against Garfield-Palouse as its best defensive performance of the season.

“As a program, in general, we like to switch defenses up constantly,” Asotin coach Perry Black said. “It’s better to show teams a bunch of different looks to make them think a little bit more. We showed them about two to three different defensive looks.”

The Panthers contested shots and took charges in the first half. Black also credits that to why his defense played so well.

“They had a bit of a size advantage,” Black said. “Everything they had in the paint, they couldn’t get because we were keeping them out of it most of the time.”

The Panthers opened the game on an 11-0 run before Colton Pffaff hit a free throw with 2:32 remaining for the Vikings’ first and only point of the quarter.

At halftime, Asotin held a commanding 30-10 lead.

“We executed about as well as we could’ve executed in the first half,” Black said. “Overall, it was a really good game.”

Asotin continued the onslaught in the second half, but Black wasn’t pleased with his team’s output in the fourth.

“We played three really good quarters of basketball,” Black said. “The fourth quarter wasn’t the best but we got a lot of people involved and in the game.”

Eighth-grader Cody Ells paced Asotin with 13 points, and his brother, Gavin, added 11.

“Our offense played average,” Black said. “We missed a lot of easy shots. Inside the paint we didn’t play good, that’s not how we want to execute. We didn’t finish the way we normally do.”

Bryce Pfaff paced Gar-Pal (1-7) with seven points.

GARFIELD-PALOUSE (1-7)

Jaxson Orr 2 0-0 4, Cameron Merrill 3 1-2 8, Colton Pfaff 1 2-4 4, Miles Bowechop 1 1-2 3, Kieran Snekvik 1 0-0 2, Brendon Snekvik 0 0-0 0, Bryce Pfaff 2 2-4 7, Landon Orr 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 6-12 30.

ASOTIN (5-3)

Nick Heier 3 1-4 7, Carson Benner 1 2-2 4, Preston Overberg 3 0-0 6, Kamea Kauhi 3 0-0 6, Cooper Biery 0 1-4 1, Rueben Eggleston 0 0-0 0, Gavin Ells 4 0-0 10, Cameron Clovis 1 0-0 2, Cody Ells 5 2-2 13. Totals 20 6-12 49.

Garfield-Palouse 1 10 10 9—30

Asotin 14 16 12 7—49

3-point goals — Merrill, B. Pfaff, G. Ellis 2, C. Ellis.

Pixley may be contacted at tpixley@lmtribune.com, (208) 848-2268 or on Twitter @TreebTalks.