The Kamiakin High School girls basketball team was in classic form Friday morning against Seattle Prep.
The defense won the ball, created fast breaks and earned wide open looks, most of which were set up for Oumou Toure. And when the transition game wasn’t there, the Braves dominated in the half court, knocking down outside shots and using quick passes to create even more open paths to the cup.
In short, the No. 7 Braves made their 64-40 win look easy over the No. 12 Panthers in the fourth/sixth-place consolation bracket, and they made it hard to remember that Seattle Prep had beaten No. 4 Bellevue — thought to be one of the best 3A teams in the state entering the tournament — just two days prior.
The Braves almost made it tough to remember their loss to Mercer Island on Thursday in the state quarterfinals.
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“It’s a testament to their character, and that’s what I’m so proud of,” Kamiakin coach Lane Schumacher said. “We could have rolled over today, pouted and just kind of gone through the motions. But no, they came out, and we played one of our best games of the season.”
The Braves (24-2) seemed to take exception to having their 15-game win streak broken.
“We were kind of mad about yesterday,” said Toure, Kamiakin’s sensational sophomore guard.
Toure scored a game-high 29 points in just 22 minutes. She entered needing seven points to surpass 1,000 for her career, and wasted no time in reaching that milestone.
Toure started the game by scoring Kamiakin’s first nine points in just over 2 minutes while Seattle Prep scored two. She hit another round scoring number when she made a layup with 6:30 to go in the second quarter for her 15th point of the game — 601st of the season — which sparked a 12-0 Kamiakin run that pushed the lead to 33-14 at the midpoint of the period.
“I didn’t think about it (reaching 1,000 points) during the game,” Toure said. “They told me after, and I was like, ‘Oh! I got to 1,000 points.’ But it was good.”
While Toure won’t brag about herself, her teammate’s have no qualms about heaping the praise, starting with outspoken fellow sophomore guard Alexa Hazel.
“Oumou’s a stud. I always tell my teammates what I think about them,” Hazel said. “Oumou is a phenomenal basketball player, a phenomenal athlete, and can do just about anything on the court.
“I’ve never seen someone move like that under the basket. It’s incredible, and hands down, she deserved to hit that 1,000-point mark today.”
Toure finished the game with 615 points for the season (23.7 per game) and a two-year total of 1,022.
Kamiakin never trailed and led by double digits from 2 minutes into the second quarter until the final horn.
Seattle Prep rallied back a bit in the third quarter — 7-0 run in last three minutes while Kamiakin starters Toure, Hazel and Symone Brown were on the bench — to keep things from getting out of hand. But the Braves starters re-entered at the beginning of the fourth and went on a 9-0 run in the first 1:30 to go up by 20 and put the game to rest.
Toure also pulled down a game high 12 rebounds, and Hazel finished as the game’s second-leading scorer with 16 points. The prolific numbers from the Braves’ stars were even more impressive considering they each only played about 23 minutes.
Jayden Williams, Chanceler Williams, Kendyl Holle and Kylie Scherbarth came off the bench for Kamiakin and played at least 10 minutes each.
“I was so proud of the bench. They gave us great minutes and allowed us to rest those starters,” Schumacher said. “Hopefully that will pay off when we’re going for our third day in a row of playing.”
Kamiakin lost the turnover battle 17-14 but dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Panthers 64-40.
“We hammered them on the boards,” Schumacher said. “Brown, Chanceler Williams and Oumou were just relentless on the offensive glass, and we didn’t give them too many second shots.”
The Braves also held Seattle Prep’s leading scorer for the season, Chinwe Ezeonu, to just seven points. Marie Hauck led the Panthers (21-8) with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Kamiakin will play No. 10 Lynnwood, which won a thriller over Stanwood in its Friday morning game, in the fourth/sixth-place game at 8 a.m. Saturday.
The Braves took fifth in state last year, and while they were hoping for more-illustrious hardware at this tournament, the opportunity for a fourth-place finish is still enticing for the team that starts four sophomores.
“Our goal is always to play on that last Saturday,” Schumacher said. “We want to do the best we can, and fourth is the goal. It’s bright and early, and we’re playing a really strong Lynnwood team, but it means more great state tournament minutes for this young team.”
SEATTLE PREP: Wsibelli, Lapke 9, Savage 1, Russell, Brackett, Marie Hauck 10, Petro 3, Teders 2, Franklin 8, Ezeonu 7. Totals: 14-55 8-17 40.
KAMIAKIN: Brown 5, Scherbarth, Larsen 2, Westermeyer, Holle, Clark 2, Alexa Hazel 16, Williams 4, Oumou Toure 29, Williams 6. Totals: 23-51 14-24 64.
Highlights — SP, Hauck 8 rebs; Chinwe Ezeonu 3 stls; Hilary Lapke 3x3 3pts. K, Kiley Larsen 4 asts; Rylie Clark 4 asts; Toure 12 rebs, 3 stls.