The Titans, who lost all five starters from last year’s team, won their third NWAACC title in the past four years in resounding fashion Sunday, hammering Skagit Valley 81-54 in the championship game.
“The satisfaction of this (championship) was that we lost a major part of our team last year,” Lane coach Greg Sheley said. “Everybody in the Northwest thought this was a chance to get back at Lane. … The kids accepted the challenge. These kids understood what we’re all about and really bought into it.”
The Titans (27-5) drained the game of its suspense in the first seven minutes by racing out to a 22-0 lead before Keri Arendse’s three-pointer gave Skagit Valley its first points with 12:27 left in the first half.
Skagit Valley missed its first 11 field-goal attempts and had six turnovers. For the game, the Titans held the Cardinals to 26 percent shooting from the field.
“Early on, they were settling for jumpers,” Sheley said. “Then they started driving and trying to attack, and we did a good job of stepping in front.”
Lane, on the other hand, hit eight of its first 14 attempts. Lynette Minthorn had six points in the game-opening surge, Sarah Whitfield and Carmen Williams had five each, and Theresa Brown had four.
“We were playing phenomenal defense, and the shots were falling like they hadn’t been,” Sheley said.
“I don’t think they were expecting that. They were getting nothing. … By the time they had a chance to regroup, it was over. It was 22-0 before they knew what hit them.”
By halftime, Lane’s lead was 52-23, and Sheley said his halftime discussion centered on the possibility that Skagit Valley would make a run at some point in the second half.
“I told them we’ve got to put the gas on for five minutes,” Sheley said.
Lane kept its large lead and jumped ahead by 30 at 64-34 with 13:49 remaining. Skagit Valley could get no closer than 22 points the rest of the way.
Sheena Cole scored 15 points to lead the Titans, who got 14 each from Jennifer Kimbrow and Williams, 13 from Minthorn and 12 from Whitfield, who had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Kimbrow was named the tournament’s most valuable player, and Cole and teammate Kourtney Parks made the all-tournament team.
Arendse’s 19 points led Skagit Valley (27-2), which got 14 from Brittany Janz.
Posted to Web: Sunday, Mar 8, 2009 11:09PM
Appeared in print: Monday, Mar 9, 2009, page C5