Kami­akin girls rout Ken­newick in show­down of Top 10 teams

Tri-City Herald (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY JEFF MOR­ROW

Don’t ask Ou­mou Toure about state bas­ket­ball rank­ings.

She doesn’t want to hear about — even af­ter the Seat­tle Times ranked her team, the Kami­akin Braves, No. 1 in the Class 3A poll ear­lier this week.

“The rank­ings at the end of the day don’t mean a thing,” said Toure, af­ter she and her Kami­akin teammates rolled over Ken­newick 79-49 on Fri­day night in a Mid-Columbia Con­fer­ence girls bas­ket­ball con­test.

“We were ranked No. 2 last year go­ing into state, and we lost to Garfield. So we’ve cho­sen not to look at the rank­ings,” she said.

Kami­akin was fac­ing a Ken­newick team that was also ranked by the Times — No. 8 in 3A — in a game with the two teams sport­ing a com­bined 17-1 record.

It wasn’t close at all. The Braves (6-0 MCC, 10-0 over­all) slapped on a ha­rass­ing de­fen­sive press from the start that cre­ated havoc and had the Lions search­ing for an­swers — any an­swers.

“We’ve never faced that type

of speed, es­pe­cially that de­fen­sive speed,” said Lions coach Daron Santo, who said he told his team af­ter the game they’d use it as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. “We’ve got to do bet­ter. But I’ve got to do a bet­ter job of game-plan­ning. This one is on me.”

Kami­akin coach Lane Schumacher wanted his team to get out to a fast start, some­thing the Braves had been strug­gling with early in the sea­son.

“And we haven’t played in two weeks,” Schumacher said. “We were ex­tremely ac­tive tonight and we wanted to speed up the game. We came out with a hot start.”

Couldn’t get much hot­ter. Forc­ing turnovers and turn­ing them into points, Kami­akin jumped out to a 23-0 lead and never looked back.

Toure had 9 points in the run. But teammates Alexa Hazel and Sy­mone Brown had 6 each.

As the game con­tin­ued on, sopho­more Re­gan Clark was lights out shoot­ing.

“We have four play­ers av­er­ag­ing in dou­ble fig­ures,” said Schumacher. “You can’t just fo­cus on Ou­mou. She doesn’t have to be the only one out there scor­ing.”

She wasn’t.

While Toure fin­ished with a game-high 23 points, Clark had 21, while Hazel and Brown added 13 each.

The Lions tried valiantly to fight back, but could never come close.

MeiLani McBee led Ken­newick (5-1 MCC, 8-2) with 18 points, while Ais­lin Fian­der added 11.

Top-rank­ing or not, Schumacher said he doesn’t worry about his play­ers get­ting flum­moxed with out­side dis­trac­tions.

“The (WIAA) RPI (Rat­ings Per­cent­age In­dex) rank­ing is more im­por­tant now,” Schumacher said. “These girls, they’re pretty grounded and level-headed.”

But they im­pressed Santo any­way.

“You had two teams (ranked in the top 10 in state) com­ing in,” Santo said. “They wanted to make a state­ment at our house. They did.”

CHIAWANA 47, WALLA WALLA 35: Host Chiawana forced 22 turnovers, turn­ing them into 20 points, en route to beat­ing Wa-Hi. Clare Eubanks paced the Riverhawks with 18 points — in­clud­ing go­ing 10 for 12 at the free throw line — and eight re­bounds. Mon­ica Miller and Mia Hux­ell each scored 11 points for the Blue Devils.

PASCO 64, HAN­FORD 42: Pasco’s de­fense forced 21 turnovers re­sult­ing in 23 points, and the host Bull­dogs ran away from the Fal­cons. Aniyah Heav­ens paced Pasco with 21 points, nine re­bounds and five steals. Taija Mackey added 11 points, 16 re­bounds and four blocked shots, while Mya Groce had 12 points and nine re­bounds. Liana Mo­ran led Han­ford with 15 points, while team­mate Ashtyn Nel­son added 11 points and nine re­bounds.

RICH­LAND 65, HER­MIS­TON 61: Vis­it­ing Rich­land found it­self trail­ing 33-19 at in­ter­mis­sion, but ral­lied hard in the sec­ond half to win. Jayda Clark scored 15 points to lead the Bombers, while Emily Garza added 14. Ja­z­lyn Romero paced Her­mis­ton with 21 points.

BOYS ROUNDUP

KAMI­AKIN 80, KEN­NEWICK 49: Kami­akin coach Brian Me­neely lamented a few weeks ago about the rash of in­fluenza, viruses and other ail­ments that were hit­ting his team — and even him­self. Seems that’s all wa­ter un­der the bridge now. Me­neely’s Braves used a 23-4 run early in the sec­ond quar­ter to put away Ken­newick.

“We’re healthy!” Me­neely ex­claimed af­ter the game. That in­cluded sopho­more point guard Steven Wester­meyer, who ham­mered the Lions with 25 points, in­clud­ing six 3point field goals.

“Wester­meyer got over his con­cus­sion that he suf­fered a few weeks ago (miss­ing a cou­ple of games),” Me­neely said. “And he shot well. But I thought he de­fended well and took care of the ball.”

In that key run, six dif­fer­ent play­ers — in­clud­ing three guys off the bench in Mes­siah Jones, Woodley Dow­nard and Jeremiah Ken­nell — scored in the run.

“Our bench gave us some big min­utes tonight,” said Me­neely, who wasn’t sure how his team would re­act af­ter hav­ing 13 days be­tween games.

“We had a long break. We prac­ticed a lot. Some­times you come out rusty. Some­times it pays off. Tonight it paid off.”

Dow­nard came off the bench to score 15 points, while Jim Mohlman added 10 for the Braves (3-3 MCC, 6-4 over­all). Ay­oni Be­navidez led the Lions (3-3, 7-4) with 16 points, while Blaine Chavez added 11.

CHIAWANA 63, WALLA WALLA 45: Host Chiawana dom­i­nated the boards, out­re­bound­ing Wa-Hi 47-33, and beat the vis­it­ing Blue Devils in MCC play. Con­nor Men­dez came of the bench to lead the Riverhawks with 12 points. Chiawana’s Kobe Young had just 5 points, but he was a force in­side with 12 re­bounds and five blocked shots. Tay­lor Ha­mada paced Wa-Hi with 17 points and nine re­bounds.

HAN­FORD 51, PASCO 37: Con­nor Wood­ward scored 18 points, and Dan Izquierdo added 6 points and 11 re­bounds, as vis­it­ing Han­ford beat Pasco. The Fal­cons led 29-27 af­ter three quar­ters, but they outscored the Bull­dogs 22-10 in the fourth quar­ter for the win. Moises Cuevas led Pasco with 12 points, while Nick Gutier­rez added 10 points and six re­bounds.

RICH­LAND 86, HER­MIS­TON 59: Cole Northrop scored 25 points and Dhaunye Guice added 20 as vis­it­ing Rich­land rolled past Her­mis­ton. The Bombers took con­trol with a 20-4 sec­ond quar­ter. Ce­sar Or­tiz and Jor­dan Ramirez each had 13 points to lead the Bull­dogs.

NOELLE HARO-GOMEZ TriCi­ties

Kami­akin’s Ou­mou Toure (24) at­tempts to shoot while be­ing sur­rounded by Ken­newick’s de­fense dur­ing a game at Ken­newick on Fri­day. Kami­akin de­feated Ken­newick 79-49.

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