"The girls started out slow, they were scared and nervous (in the first half)," said Hawks head coach Tina Brown.
Brown credited the play of sophomore guard Justice Vela for keeping the Hawks in the game during the first half.
"I'm very proud of Justice Vela, she stepped up in the first half," said Brown. "Justice got a couple of steals, made a couple of shots when we could've folded."
With Vela's help, the Hawks (17-2) held a two-point lead at the half before getting their offense into gear in the third quarter by ratcheting up the defense. Tulalip Heritage held the Hurricanes (15-8) to just four points in the period, while scoring 15. According to Tina Brown, Jones-Smith was able to score off layins created from Tulalip Heritage steals.
Jacqueline Case led the Hurricanes with 15 points and Mount Vernon Christian finally solved the Hawks defense in the fourth, scoring 19 points, which equaled its output from the first three periods. But Katia Brown made 9 of 10 from the line in the last two minutes to ice the game. Brown's dead-eye free throw shooting shouldn't be a surprise, she's the granddaughter of former Seattle SuperSonics great "Downtown Freddie" Brown.
The win earns the Hawks the district title and the No. 1 seed to next week's tri-district tournament. The Hawks will host the winner of Grace Academy-Evergreen Lutheran. Mount Vernon Christian will enter as the No. 2 seed and play the Lopez-Shoreline Christian winner. Both games are scheduled for Feb. 12.
At Mount Vernon Christian H.S.
Mount Vernon Christian 10 5 4 19 -- 38
Tulalip Heritage 10 7 15 16 -- 48
Mount Vernon Christian--Natalie Sakuma 6, Kimber-Lynn Anderson 0, Amanda Lervick 4, Molli Kaptein 0, Jacqueline Case 15, Melyssa Whitener 0, Grace Kuipers 7, Kennedy Lucas 2, Carla Van Rooyen 4, Lindsay Noste 0, Ottey Weidenbach 0, Jenna Withers 0. Tulalip Heritage--Katia Brown 13, Kanoa Enick 7, Cassandra Jimicum 2, Adiya Jones-Smith 21, Justice Vela 5, Michelle Iukes 0, Wendy Jimicum 0. 3-point goals--Case 3, Vela, Enick. Records-- Mount Vernon Christian 15-8 overall. Tulalip Heritage 17-2.
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