RICHLAND — It's easy to forget Colette Gall is only a sophomore after watching her take control during Hanford's 53-39 win over Kennewick in the first round of the Class 3A District 5/6 tournament Friday in Richland.
But the all-CBBN post is not afraid to admit that even she gets nervous before big games.
"I think the whole team was," Gall said.
Fortunately, she didn't play like it, scoring 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half as the Falcons advanced to the semifinals. No. 3 seed Hanford (10-11) will travel to East Wenatchee today to play No. 2 seed Eastmont (15-5) at 4 p.m. The two teams split their season series.
"We knew (Kennewick was) a really good team, so I'm really excited about this win," said Gall, breaking into a million-dollar smile. "We just had fun."
The Lions got out of the gate quickly, as Kim Harrod scored on back-to-back possessions to fuel a 6-3 run in the first 1:25 of the game. Unfortunately, the team's top offensive player, Angelique Whistocken, got into some early foul trouble, drawing two first-quarter calls and another to open the second frame.
"That kind of threw us out of whack," Kennewick coach Tarah Staton said. "No one scored much after that."
Hanford held the Lions to four points in the second and third quarter, building a 31-20 lead by the third quarter. They also did a good job limiting the effectiveness of Kennewick's junior post Panisesi Taimani, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds but could have done even more damage.
"I'm most proud of the entire team. They did a lot of things on defense in the second half and made their own adjustments," said Falcons coach Evan Woodward, who was also happy when the offense picked up in the second half.
"Kennewick plays very aggressive defense. In our first game, we didn't even score 40," Woodward said.
Whistocken came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring seven of her team-high 12 points. By then, however, it was too late.
"Our issue was on the defensive end. We broke things down all week. We worked on transition and pushed them in practice," Staton said. "Then we just folded a little on offense."
KENNEWICK -- Valerio, Angelique Whistocken 12, Lester 4, Harrod 7, Taimani 10, Hicks, Sanders, Kump 6. Totals 17-45 3-8 39.
HANFORD -- Stewart 9, Shintaffer 7, Steele 7, Rutherford 7, Collete Gall 17, Hall 4, Roueche, Heiman, Foraker, Winsor 2. Totals 19-46 14-19 53.
Kennewick 10 4 4 19 -- 39
Hanford 12 8 11 22 -- 53