LIVE BLOG: Girls 3A state tournament, Kamiakin vs. Shorecrest

Herald staff writerMarch 2, 2012 

Day 2 here at the Tacoma Dome, and it's basketball time.

Kamiakin girls are in pre-game and having some fun. The Braves appear to be highly motivated to fix what went wrong yesterday in a loss to Franklin. They can't go undefeated anymore, but they can end their season on a positive note.

As always, the team will take its cue from senior guard Khadidja Toure. The energy she brings on defense is often what jump starts the team early. She never really got going yesterday, and the team didn't have a sparkplug.

Two of the most important players today will be Sira Toure and Courtney Nelson. Those two have to play a big role on offense and be a threat to hit from outside. Nelson had an off day yesterday, hitting just 3 of 15 shots. Sira missed most of the first half after being involved in a first-quarter collision, but she came on with 11 points in the second half.

One interesting note, in a 39-32 win over Cleveland yesterday, Shorecrest stuck with a five-player rotation, with four players going at least 30 minutes. With Kamiakin's fast pace, wearing those starters down will be an important factor.

Introductions to start now. Game time in 2 minutes.

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Janie Uppinghouse hits a 3 from the left corner to begin the scoring nearly 2 minutes into the game. I'm a little surprised that the Braves aren't pressing. Maybe that's a calculated move, considering they could be playing their third game in three days tomorrow.

Well, unless they can put some points on the board. They haven't hit a shot, and we're now 4 minutes in.

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Courtney Nelson hits a 3 from the right corner for the Braves' first points of the game. It took 4 minutes and 20 seconds, but hopefully that can get them going.

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After falling in a 12-3 hole to begin the game, Kamiakin has found some scoring. Kaylee Nelson hit a 16 foot jumper from the left baseline, and Sira Toure scored four points during an 8-2 run to end the first quarter.

Shorecrest leads 14-11 after 8 minutes.

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The Braves did start to full-court press toward the end of the first, and it's getting some results. The Highlanders are starting to wilt under the pressure.

Sira Toure, Kaylee Nelson and Amanda Miller all hit jumpers during a 6-0 run to start the second quarter, and the Braves take a 17-14 lead.

Defense has been the star, as Kamiakin has forced Shorecrest into four consecutive turnovoers.

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Now Braves going cold from outside. After hitting their first three shots of the second quarter, they've missed their last 8 of 9 from the field to fall behind 21-19.

Khadidja had just two points in the first, but she's starting to show some initiative on offense. She's gone coast-to-coast with a couple of rebounds, completing her journey with a layin at the other end. The last one tied the score at 24 with 2:27 left in the half.

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Man, the Braves have GOT to get out on Uppinghouse. The Shorecrest guard has a very strange shot-put motion on her shot, but you can't argue with its effectiveness. Uppinghouse is 4 of 5 from 3-point land, and three of them came in the last 3:07 of the second quarter.

Highlanders end the second on a 9-0 run and lead 33-24 at halftime.

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If Kamiakin can keep Shorecrest from getting comfortable in a halfcourt-type situation, then they can make some nice runs. Otherwise, the Highlanders will keep taking advantage inside and on the perimeter.

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Third quarter just started and Uppinghouse is at it again. Same spot, too — that little patch along the right wing that Braves defenders continue to miss. That starts a 9-4 run, and Highlanders lead 42-28 with 5:30 left in the third.

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Kamiakin can't get to its strength, which is creating turnovers off transition. They're playing very tentative right now.

You're down 14 points in the third, why not go with what got you here?

That being said, Shorecrest looking very composed right now and playing extremely well. They're definitely dictating the pace of this game.

48-38 Highlanders after three quarters. It would surprise me if Kamiakin didn't have one last run in them.

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The good news is that the Braves have appeared to finally shut down Uppinghouse. Bad news? Now Brianne Lasconia just hit a 3 from deep on the left wing.

51-39 Shorecrest with 6:21 left in the game.

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Now Kamiakin back on the full court pressure, and they quickly force a turnover.

Onyie Chibuogwu scores for Shorecrest in transition to make it 53-41, but the Braves force three consecutive turnovers and go on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 53-48 with 2:10 left in the game.

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But Kamiakin is forced to foul down the stretch and can't get any more shots to fall.

The Braves' season ends with a whimper. 0-2 at Tacoma and no trophy.

The final: 59-48 Shorecrest.

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