High School Sports

Kamiakin girls start off with 20-0 run, beat Pasco

PASCO -- The Kamiakin girls basketball team is well known for its offensive prowess.

From CBBN 3A-leading scorer Khadidja Toure to do-everything-to-win Courtney Nelson to post Kassy Larson, the Braves can put up points in bunches.

What is often overlooked is the strength of their defense, led by sophomore Sira Toure.

Playing stellar team defense, the Braves rolled to a 54-21 victory Tuesday at Pasco.

"We just came in ready to play defense," Toure said. "Defense is our No. 1 priority, so we played good defense today and it got us really far."

Toure was put in charge of guarding Pasco's leading scorer, Yessica Diaz. Toure harassed Diaz all night, holding the senior to just six points -- four of which came in the final minutes.

"I look at Sira as being one of our defensive specialists," Kamiakin coach Tammy Hutchison said. "Whenever a player on the opposing team needs to be stopped I put Sira on her, and she works hard and has the tenacity to stop them."

On Tuesday, Toure used her quickness to keep Diaz in front of her, and used her strength to fight through screens to keep Pasco from making easy passes.

"I just wanted to keep her in front of me," Toure said. "My teammates helped me play good defense and get steals."

The Braves forced 30 Pasco turnovers, converting many into easy layups on the other end.

Kamiakin jumped out to a 20-0 lead, not allowing a basket until Melissa Rodriguez hit a jumper with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in the first quarter.

"We're doing a better job moving through screens," Hutchison said, "and moving our feet. By the time (Diaz) caught the ball, we were there to defend."

The Braves won their second game in a row since losing at Eastmont on Friday and appear to be back on track.

"I believe the loss to Eastmont wasn't a bad thing at all," Hutchison said. "It opened our eyes to the parts of the game we need to focus on."

While the score was ugly for Pasco on Tuesday, coach Aaron Barcot was pleased with certain aspects of the game.

In the first meeting between the teams, the Pasco bench only scored two points. On Tuesday, it contributed seven points.

"We are trying to find if we have anyone who can contribute from the bench," Barcot said. "We knew coming into this game we would sit Yessica and Adri (Trevino) at times to see what exactly we have on our bench.

"Melissa stepped up with some points and a couple of rebounds, and Yenixa (Benitez) did as well."

Rodriguez finished with six points and three rebounds, while Benitez had one point and played solid defense against Larson.

The Bulldogs are in a three-way tie with Southridge and Kennewick for fifth place in the conference. Only two teams will advance to the playoffs from that group.

Pasco plays at one-win Sunnyside on Friday, before hosting Hanford on Saturday to close the regular season.

"The girls right now are confident going into the weekend," Barcot said.

Khadidja Toure's 20 points and eight rebounds led the Braves, while Nelson finished with 12 points.

Larson added six points and seven rebounds, while Sira Toure had seven points.

KAMIAKIN -- Sira Toure 2 3-4 7, Courtney Nelson 5 1-2 12, Khadidja Toure 8 3-5 20, Kaylee Nelson 3 0-0 6, Kassy Larson 3 0-0 6, Melanie Oord 0 1-2 1, Amanda Miller 0 0-0 0, Lauren McKinney 0 0-0 0, Krista Beach 1 0-0 2, Gabby Kurz 0 0-0 0, Jazlyn Robertson 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-13 54.

PASCO -- Cierah Alferness 1 1-2 3, Kylie Iverson 0 2-2 2, Melissa Rodriguez 3 2-2 6, Yessica Diaz 3 0-3 6, Yenixa Benitez 0 1-3 1, Adri Trevino 0 0-0 0, Jonna Schmaljohn 1 1-2 3, Adriana Morfin 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 7-14 21.

Kamiakin 24 11 13 6 -- 54

Pasco 4 8 2 7 -- 21

3-point goals -- Kamiakin 2 (C. Nelson, K. Toure). Total fouls -- Kamiakin 14, Pasco 13. Rebounds -- Kamiakin 38 (K. Toure 8), Pasco 31 (seven tied with 3). Turnovers -- Kamiakin 20, Pasco 30.