Kamiakin girls run by Eastmont for district title

By Jack Millikin, Tri-City Herald February 18, 2012 

KENNEWICK -- The last time the Kamiakin girls basketball team faced Eastmont, the Braves barely squeaked out a three-point home win after being forced to match the Wildcats slower, halfcourt style of play.

This time, the Braves wanted to run. They insisted on it.

Eventually, Kamiakin got what it wanted, and that spelled bad news for Eastmont. the Braves erased a seven-point first-quarter deficit and pulled away for a 68-51 win in Kennewick in the Class 3A District 5/6 championship.

Kamiakin (22-0) landed its second consecutive state berth, earning a spot in the first round of the regional round of the state tournament Saturday at Art Dawald Gym in Richland. The Braves will face the No. 6 seed out of District 3/4 at 6 p.m.

Eastmont (16-6) will host University at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a loser-out bid for the No. 2 seed to state.

The Wildcats got off on the right foot, mainly those of all-CBBN post Charity Degman, who scored six points in the first quarter and sparked her team to an early 12-5 lead. It didn't help that the Braves were getting outrebounded badly -- 15-8 in the first quarter, including seven offensive rebounds for Eastmont.

"We weren't doing a good job adjusting, but we started pressing and getting in their faces," Kamiakin guard Khadidja Toure said. "It was nice to see us come together."

The Braves settled down and found their game in the second quarter. Courtney Nelson hit a pair of free throws and Amanda Miller scored inside off an assist from Lindsey Schauble to spark a 16-2 run that put Kamiakin up 25-20 with 48 seconds left in the half.

Once the Braves had the lead, they never looked back.

"We came out in a triangle-and-two to try to deny Khadidja and Courtney," Eastmont coach Brent Darnell said. "Once they figured out how to beat it, that's when they went on their big run in the second quarter."

Nelson scored 12 of her game-high 24 points in the third quarter. She capped her outburst with a 3-pointer from the left wing as Kamiakin opened up a 44-22 lead with 3:50 left in the third. She and Toure combined for 19 points during the quarter. Toure finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and six steals.

"She's one of the best players I've ever played with," said Nelson, who had just two points after the first quarter but finished with a flurry. "One thing coach told us at halftime was there's only one team that can take home the trophy. That motivated me to come out and play even harder."

Hutchison was pleased with the offensive output from Toure and Nelson, but she was even happier with their defensive efforts. Overall, the Braves forced Eastmont into 17 turnovers.

"Khadidja continued her part of the pressure, and our posts did a good job of telling everybody who's coming up the middle," Hutchison said. "Courtney was on fire. Anything she touched was going in."

Schauble also shined off the bench, scoring 10 points.

EASTMONT -- Waterhouse 12, Gilstrap 2, Gilbert 7, Charity Degman 19, Jackson 3, Keane 4, Jones 5, Whitefoot. Totals 19-41 11-20 51.

KAMIAKIN -- Courtney Nelson 24, Oord 6, S.Toure 4, Khadidja Toure 17, K.Nelson, Schauble 10, Miller 7, Roueche 1, Guice, Ellison, Hanson. Totals 26-61 13-19 68.

Eastmont 14 8 7 22 -- 51

Kamiakin 7 18 21 22 -- 68

Highlights -- Rebounds: E 34 (Degman 11), K 33 (K.Toure 7); 3-pointers: E 1 (Bekah Waterhouse), K 2 (C.Nelson 2); Turnovers: E 17, K 6; Nikki Gilbert 5 assists.

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