KENNEWICK — As time continues to roll on, the pain of a disappointing state tournament ebbs away for the Kamiakin girls basketball team.
The Braves went to Tacoma earlier this month with hopes of a state title, riding a 23-0 record. Instead, Kamiakin was quickly bounced out of the Class 3A state tournament.
"It is still a bit raw," Kamiakin senior Khadidja Toure said. "But we did accomplish a lot. I think as time passes, I'll look back at all the good things we did.
"What we expected at state didn't happen, but you can't be sad about that forever."
Toure is the Tri-City Herald's All-Area Girls Basketball Most Valuable Player. The Oregon State-bound guard, led the Mid-Columbia in scoring with 21.2 per game, highlighted by a school record 48 points against West Valley.
Joining Toure with All-Area honors are Kamiakin coach Tammy Hutchison as coach of the year. Junior forward Courtney Nelson leads the first team, as the Braves were consistently the best team in Eastern Washington, regardless of classification.
"I think we did a really good job of having confidence in each other," Toure said, "and taking it one game at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves and having a maturity about us."
Nelson, who was on the second team last season, averaged 15.2 points per game.
Joining Nelson on the first team are Chiawana's Sadie Sparks, Hermiston's Maloree Moss, Richland's Britney Pringle and Kiona-Benton's Cierra Torp.
Sparks, the CBBN 4A MVP, led the Riverhawks to the Class 4A Eastern Washington Regional Tournament and within a game of the state tournament. Chiawana was expected to be down this season after graduating four starters, but Sparks and second-teamer Delaney Hodgins helped carry the load.
Moss led a talented Hermiston squad to the Oregon Class 5A State Tournament, where the Bulldogs went two-and-out. They did win the Columbia River Valley conference title and were ranked as high as No. 4 in the state this season.
Richland didn't make it past the Class 4A District 5/6 Tournament, but Pringle turned in a solid junior campaign, becoming one of the most prolific scorers in the Tri-Cities. She averaged 15.7 points per game, while transitioning from a pass-first point guard as a sophomore, to a shooting guard this season.
While Kiona-Benton didn't make the state tournament, history was made in Benton City this season. Led by Torp, who scored 13.3 points per game, the Bears won the first SCAC East title in school history, advancing to the semifinals of the Class 1A District 5 Tournament.
Besides Chiawana's Hodgins, the second team is made up of Kennewick's Angelique Whistocken (third-teamer last season), Walla Walla's Mikayla Ferenz, Hanford's Colette Gall (third-teamer last season) and Connell's Kody Easterday.
The third team is River View's Kim Gier, Prosser's Helen Petersen, Hanford's Savanna Steele, Grandview's Payton Parrish and Kamiakin's Sira Toure.