Sira Toure dreams big. She wants to win a state title. She wants to play basketball in college. She wants to get her AA before she graduates from high school. And she even wants to play in the WNBA.
Considering how hard she works, there is no reason to believe all of those things aren’t attainable.
Toure, a junior at Kamiakin High in Kennewick, leads the Braves into the Class 3A state tournament at 9 a.m. Thursday, facing Seattle Prep in a quarterfinal at the Tacoma Dome.
“I wanted to have the experience of college before I actually go,” said Toure, who is averaging 14.7 points per game this season. “I wanted to get used to balancing college and basketball.”
So, that is what she did.
She signed up for Running Start and attends Columbia Basin College full time, studying calculus and chemistry. She also juggles playing basketball for a state powerhouse. Not bad for a junior in high school.
“It is pretty hard,” she said. “You have to be organized and you have to be self motivated.”
That has never been a problem for Toure, though.
She has set goals for herself throughout high school and met them. She made varsity as a freshman and played significant minutes. She made it back to the state tournament this season, a year after a disappointing finish in Tacoma.
“She is serious about school and she is serious about basketball,” Kamiakin coach Lane Schumacher said. “Those are her two passions. She is very talented. And strong. She doesn’t get pushed around, she rebounds well, can shoot it, play defense and is aggressive.”
All of that has been evident throughout the season.
The Braves faced some big question marks coming into the 2012-13 season. They had lost Sira’s sister, leading scorer Khadidja Toure, to graduation. They had a new coach in Schumacher. And they also were coming off a disappointing state tournament where they went two-and-out after going 23-0 leading up to the tournament.
The steady play of Sira Toure — and the rest of her teammates — helped fill the void of Khadidja’s scoring and defense, and it has the Braves back in Tacoma for a third consecutive season.
“I think she has been a lot more aggressive,” senior Courtney Nelson said. “She is one of our main offense threats. And defensively we put her on their best offensive player.”
One of Toure’s best attributes on the court is her ability to play physical, despite only being 5-foot-7.
“If I get the football dummies out and I’m banging (the players) around on lay-ins, some of them I barely touch them,” Schumacher said, “but she goes right at me. She is physical. She plays like a guy. She is very aggressive and is not afraid to mix it up.”
She is also very confident in herself, a necessity when you are the younger sibling of a Division I basketball player. Khadidja is playing at Oregon State, and plenty of comparisons and expectations are placed on Sira.
She deflects them all.
“I’m a different person,” she said. “My name is Sira Toure. I am not Khadidja. I’ve lived up to what I can. People do say things, but you have to be like, ‘Hey, look how far I’ve gotten. I’m a good player too.’
“It is awesome to be compared to her, though. She is really good.”
Sira might as well have been talking about herself, as she is quickly becoming one of the best players in the Tri-Cities and this week will have the chance to show off her skills on the big stage of the state tournament.
“I want to play with no regrets,” she said. “That is one thing I’m going to carry to state. Last year (at state) I had many regrets.”