KENNEWICK — With its perfect season hanging in the balance, the Kamiakin girls basketball team turned to its trifecta of stars.
Khadidja Toure, Courtney Nelson and Sira Toure quickly took command of the game and helped the Braves to a terrific fourth quarter and a 67-49 CBBN 3A victory Saturday at the Lions Den.
After Kennewick pulled within 39-37 on two free throws by Ashley Kump, the Braves went on a 14-2 run to ice the game.
And they did it through some good old-fashioned half-court basketball.
"We started running our plays," Nelson said. "Early on we were just running around and we weren't being disciplined. We have to pick up our half-court offense, because we know it won't just be about our transition play that will beat good teams" in the playoffs.
The victory clinched the CBBN 3A regular-season title for Kamiakin (17-0, 11-0).
Khadidja Toure started the run with a pretty spinning layup to close the third quarter. Her younger sister closed the run with a layup of her own. Khadidja scored eight points and had an assist during the push.
"We have so many assets that if we execute our plays properly, no one should be able to stop us," Kamiakin coach Tammy Hutchison said. "In the third and fourth quarter, we started executing the plays I was calling and they got in a flow and things started clicking and the game took off.
"The girls even started smiling. They were enjoying it."
The Braves have enjoyed nearly everything this season. They are ranked No. 2 in the state in The Associated Press poll. They are undefeated, and they have clinched a first-round bye in the district tournament.
Despite all of that, it wasn't until this weekend that the Braves were challenged in back-to-back games.
"We learned a lot from the Eastmont game," Hutchison said of Friday's 52-49 victory. "It was a wakeup call. All teams are getting better, and we have to make adjustments going forward."
The Lions (7-9, 5-6) seemed an unlikely team to give the Braves run for their money. Kennewick had lost four of its last five games coming in, and the only victory was against winless Pasco.
"We played great," Kennewick coach Tarah Staton said. "That's the best we've played in a couple of weeks. I really thought we were going to win, but we made a few mistakes and Kamiakin capitalized on them.
"Winning is a mentality, and we have to step on the floor like we are going to win. I think we did that tonight."
The Lions are tied with West Valley for fifth place in the conference but are just one game out of third place and a chance to host a first-round district playoff game.
Khadidja Toure scored a game-high 26 points, had four rebounds, four steals and three assists. Nelson finished with 15 points and Sira Toure added 13 points.
Angelique Whistocken's 14 points led the Lions, while much-improving Panisesi Taimani had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Janey Valerio added nine points, hitting three 3-pointers.
KAMIAKIN -- Khadidja Toure 10 6-8 26, Sira Toure 5 3-4 13, Courtney Nelson 5 2-2 15, Melanie Oord 2 0-0 4, Amanda Miller 3 1-3 7, Cameron Roueche 0 0-0 0, Lindsey Schauble 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 12-17 67.
KENNEWICK -- Janey Valerio 3 0-0 9, Whitney Hicks 1 0-0 2, Angelique Whistocken 6 1-3 14, Samantha Lester 0 2-4 2, Kim Harrod 4 0-0 8, Panisesi Taimani 4 2-2 10, Ashley Kump 1 2-2 4, McKayla Sanders 0 0-0 0, Taylor Osmundson 0 0-0 0.
Kamiakin 16 14 11 26 -- 67
Kennewick 12 11 14 12 -- 49
3-point goals--Kamiakin 3 (Nelson 3), Kennewick 4 (Valerio 3, Whistocken). Total fouls--Kamiakin 16, Kennewick 16. Fouled out--none. Rebounds--Kamiakin 28 (Miller 8), Kennewick 24 (Taimani 10). Turnovers--Kamiakin 16, Kennewick 24.