RICHLAND -- Playing in her first playoff game, Hanford's Colette Gall played like a veteran.
The freshman dominated offensively and led a stout Falcons defense to a 57-38 Columbia Basin Big Nine 3A district tournament victory Friday against visiting Kennewick.
Gall finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds and helped hold Kennewick star Angelique Whistocken to six points.
In her last game, a regular-season ending win against Pasco, Gall was held to six points. She didn't want to repeat that in Friday's elimination game.
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"I think I came in with a better mindset this time," Gall said. "Our team was really working together and I didn't want to lose."
The Falcons will play at No. 2 seed Kamiakin at 5 p.m. today with a district championship berth on the line. Kennewick's season came to an end with the loss.
On Friday, Hanford used two big runs to blow open a close game and played solid defense throughout.
The Falcons went on an 11-3 run midway through the second quarter to open up a 26-14 lead and then opened the second half with an 11-0 run to take a 22-point lead.
"There was no magic elixir (at halftime)," Hanford coach Evan Woodward said. "Their energy was up for the game and after halftime they came out determined to finish the game. Plus, they knew they could have played better in the first half."
Hanford led 28-17 at halftime, but Gall opened with a jumper, Emily Albertson added a jumper and a free throw, Savanna Steele hit a 3-pointer and Gall added a free throw and a layup to give the Falcons a 39-17 lead with 4 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
"In the third quarter, we just couldn't score," Kennewick coach Tarah Staton said. "We were missing open looks, which then caused us to lose confidence and then you continue to miss shots. It was one of those games."
While Gall and her teammates spread the ball around on offense -- getting at least six points from four players -- it was the defensive effort that won the game.
Whistocken had scored 15 points in each of the two regular season meetings, but the game plan was to have Gall front Whistocken and bring Amanda Gagnon and Lexi Rutherford in on the weak side to double team the athletic Kennewick junior.
The plan worked for the most part, though Whistocken did yank down eight rebounds to go with her six points.
"Amanda Gagnon played an amazing game," Woodward said. "Lexi Rutherford got the short end of some calls, but she played well as well.
"Our defense just seemed determined and very cohesive. The energy defensively was key for us."
Now the Falcons must face Kamiakin, which swept Hanford in the regular season, though the Braves only won by one point in the teams' final meeting last weekend.
"We need to play like we did (Friday)," Gall said. "We need to come out with lots of energy."
While Hanford is two wins from making the state tournament, the Lions season came to a disappointing finish.
The Lions only lose one player to graduation -- Kim Sanders -- and return all other starters.
"I'm very proud of the kids," Staton said. "We had must-win games for the last two weeks and that's a lot of pressure, but they came through."
Besides Gall's 21 points, Albertson had 11, Steele had seven points and Vanessa Roueche had six points, hitting two 3-pointers, including a bank she didn't call that seemed to spark Hanford early.
Ashley Kump's nine points led Kennewick, while Sanders finished with eight points and Janey Valerio had seven.
Whitney Hicks 1 0-0 2, Angelique Whistocken 2 2-4 6, Janey Valerio 1 5-7 7, Kim Harrod 2 0-3 4, Kim Sanders 2 3-4 8, Ashley Kump 3 3-4 9, McKayla Sanders 0 2-2 2, Sami Nielson 0 0-0 0, Panisesi Taimani 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 15-24 38.
Colette Gall 8 5-7 21, Taylor Young 0 1-2 1, Savanna Steele 3 0-2 7, Emily Albertson 3 5-8 11, Amanda Gagnon 2 0-0 4, Lexi Rutherford 0 1-2 1, Vanessa Roueche 2 0-0 6, Ashley Stewart 1 1-3 3, Kendreya Skinner 0 0-0 0, Sydney Shintaffer 1 1-2 3, MaKenna Hall 0 0-0 0, Bailee Heiman 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 14-26 57.
Kennewick 7 10 7 14 -- 38
Hanford 11 17 13 16 -- 57
3-point goals -- Kennewick 1 (K. Sanders), Hanford 3 (Roueche 2, Steele). Fouls -- Kennewick 23, Hanford 21. Fouled out -- Kennewick, K. Sanders, Valerio. Rebounds -- Kennewick 24 (Whistocken 8), Hanford 36 (Gall 10). Turnovers -- Kennewick 23, Hanford 20.