SPOKANE VALLEY -- With their senior star struggling, the Kamiakin girls basketball team turned to a pair of sophomores to lead them to the state tournament.
Holly Ellison and Lindsey Schauble both posted career-highs, leading the Braves to a 57-33 victory over Lakes of Tacoma on Friday in the Class 3A regionals at University High in Spokane Valley.
Ellison, a 5-foot-4 guard, poured in 17 points, while Schauble, a 5-foot-11 post, grabbed 20 rebounds. All of that was needed as Lakes was keying in on Kamiakin leading-scorer Courtney Nelson, holding her without a field goal in the first half.
"I was just feeling it," Ellison said. "I was just on and I kept making it and kept shooting."
Ellison wasn't the only one with the hot-hand. Junior Sira Toure scored 11 first-half points as the Braves jumped out to a 26-14 lead. Lakes never got closer than 10 the rest of the night.
"We needed every one of those points," Kamiakin coach Lane Schumacher said of Ellison. "She kept them honest from the outside and attacked the basket. It's nice to see her playing with such confidence."
The win puts the Braves (18-5) into the Class 3A state tournament in the Tacoma Dome, which starts Thursday. Kamiakin's opponent is unknown at this time and will be determined during the draw Sunday.
On Friday, though, the Braves were just focused on starting quickly and earning that trip back to the Dome.
Kamiakin jumped on Lakes early and often, as Toure hit three first-quarter 3-pointers, keying a 13-2 run to blow the game open.
Toure hit a 3-pointer, Ellison a jumper, Nelson a free throw, Toure another 3-pointer and Ellison capped the run with a free throw. Before Lakes could blink, the Lancers trailed 17-6 and were in trouble even if they were shutting down Nelson.
"We wanted a quick start and that was pleasing," Schumacher said. "We didn't play the full 32 minutes, but we got a fast start and didn't let them threaten us too badly. I was really proud of the defensive effort."
While Ellison and Toure were doing their thing on offense, the defensive pressure by the Braves kept Lakes in check throughout.
Kamiakin forced 19 turnovers and outrebounded Lakes 55-36, including 17 offensive rebounds with Schauble grabbing six of those. The effort kept Lakes to nearly one shot each time down the floor.
"My baskets weren't going in, so I had to step up somehow," Schauble said. "I had to be more aggressive on the defensive end. (My rebounding) is getting better and better every game and it is helping the team out."
Schauble had 10 rebounds in the first quarter alone.
Kamiakin came into the game hoping to hold Lakes under 40 points, which they did. They also held Lakes leading scorer Dericka Ware to five points on 2-of-12 shooting, which was 13 points under average.
"Our defensive pressure is our key," Schumacher said. "It gets our momentum going."
That defensive pressure will need to continue to be there if the Braves want to make up for last year's state tournament and earn a trophy.
"It's really exciting," Ellison said. "I'm looking forward to going to the Dome."
Toure finished with a game-high 18 points. Amanda Miller added 10 rebounds and six points, and Nelson finished with nine points. But this night was about the sophomores Ellison and Schauble.
"Holly is feisty. She deserved that one," Schauble said. "She played so hard tonight. I can't wait to get to the Dome."
LAKES -- Dericka Ware 2 1-2 5, Shamirah Lowe 4 1-2 9, Kaytlan Soriano 0 0-0 0, Olivia Crawford 3 3-3 10, Quenessa Long 0 0-0 0, Tyanna Barton 2 3-4 7, Jada Silverhorn 1 0-0 2, Desiree Williams 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 8-11 33.
KAMIAKIN -- Amanda Miller 3 0-1 6, Sira Toure 6 3-3 18, Courtney Neslon 4 1-3 9, Holly Ellison 6 3-5 17, Melanie Oord 1 1-2 3, Kassi Hanson 0 0-0 0, Lindsey Schauble 2 0-0 4, Makayla Guice 0 0-0 0, Kassidy Arnold 0 0-0 0, Kelsea Crandall 0 0-0 0, Parker Lee 0 0-0 0, Heather Donais 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-14 57.
Lakes 9 5 8 11 -- 33
Kamiakin 19 7 11 20 -- 57
3-point goals--Lakes 1 (Crawford), Kamiakin 5 (Toure 3, Ellison 2). Rebounds--Lakes 36 (Barton 9), Kamiakin 55 (Schauble 20). Blocks--Lakes 2 (Barton 2), Kamiakin 2 (Nelson 2). Turnovers--Lakes 19, Kamiakin 18. Total fouls--Lakes 15, Kamiakin 16.