YAKIMA -- Mark Little found out Saturday that girls basketball hasn't changed that much since he last guided Prosser to the 1A state championship in 1989.
Heart still prevails, and defense still wins basketball games.
Little lingered on the court for several minutes after the Mustangs' 50-33 championship win over Burlington-Edison at the SunDome. After watching his players cut down the nets, he no longer could contain his excitement.
"Yes!" Little shouted, letting go of three seasons worth of anxiety in pursuit of another elusive state title. The Mustangs reached the 2A title game last season, losing 57-46 to River Ridge.
"It's the best," Little said. "(The 1989) team believed in each other the same way these girls do."
While Mustangs star player and tournament MVP Tamara Jones struggled on offense -- she shot just 2-of-11 with four points -- she and her teammates made sure that wouldn't stand in the way of their goal of the second state crown in school history.
Instead of trying to force things on offense, Jones instead showed her versatility, collecting six rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and two steals.
"I knew I wasn't making anything so I had to find other ways to contribute. This team knows how to work through stuff," said Jones, who became the 2A state tournament's all-time leading scorer with 282 points, breaking the record of 235 held by Jessica Summers of Blaine.
"For being the all-time scoring leader, she's the most unselfish player. I've seen her literally pass up lay-ins so a teammate could score," Little said of the two-time CWAC MVP, his voice cracking with emotion. "She's a blessing."
Tayshia Hunt took it upon herself to attack the basket in the first quarter, scoring 10 points en route to a 13-10 lead after eight minutes.
"I was trying to drive inside to get people to collapse, so I could kick out to my teammates," said Hunt, a 5-foot-8 senior who finished with a game-high 18 points.
Hunt and Brooke Adams played shutdown defense on Tigers guards Kristine Thoe and Molly Breckenridge all night, holding a pair who averaged more than 20 points a game this season to just six points on 1-of-11 shooting. Thoe inished 0-for-8 in over 25 minutes on the floor.
"That's how we wanted to do it. Defense has been the bedrock for this team," Little said. "We've been in the gym for the last four months working on it. That's a big shout-out to the assistant coaches."
Adams and Helen Petersen each finished with eight points, and Sydney Mercer led the Mustangs with eight rebounds.
Burlington-Edison cut Prosser's lead to 30-24 on an offensive putback by Ellary Torset with 3:36 left in the third quarter. But Adams scored inside off a nice feed from Mercer and later fed Taylor Flores during an 8-2 run to end the frame with a 38-22 lead.
Jones was named tournament MVP, and Hunt joined her on the first team.
Cambie Edwards led the Tigers with 13 points, mostly on tough baskets in the paint.
Little was effusive in his praise for each of his players, even former players who came out to congratulate him after the game.
"They had a lot to do with this," Little said of former Mustangs guards Lacie French and Rachel Anderson. "Some of them are here from 22 years ago."