When you play a grueling three games in three days, fundamentals are key. Having a wheeling-and-dealing threat like Brea Olinda (Calif.) point guard Anna Kim certainly came in handy.
Behind Kim’s 27 points and 12-for-12 performance from the free-throw line, the Wildcats defeated Hamilton, 48-43, in the Division C championship game of the Nike Tournament of Champions girls basketball tournament on Saturday.
“It’s mental toughness. She really wants to take those shots, and she has the mental toughness to make them,” Olinda coach Kim Cram said of Kim.
Kim’s biggest contribution might have been at the 1:23 mark of the third quarter, when she blistered a pass from the post in to a driving Shaylissa Jarrett, who tied the game with a routine layup.
Kim followed that with a steal that left the floor open from two more points. Then, she took advantage of the same opening with Jenkins and fired another pass in to take the lead at 34-31.
“We tried to make to her go left. We tried to double-team her, but she’s mentally tough, and she did a great job today,” said Hamilton coach Jeff Kain. “We tried different things to see how she would adjust, and she just did a good job.”
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for Hamilton, and because the Huskies (11-2) shot 6-for-25 from the floor in the first half, the Wildcats (4-4) were able to build a lead of 11 points by the 2:57 mark of the second quarter.
“I would say almost every shot we took was a good shot for us,” Kain said. “We had our shooters in the right spots … Everyone took good shots; they just did not fall for us today.”
The bright spot for the Wildcats was Kyndall Adams who gave the Huskies 15 points and eight offensive rebounds.
“When a shot goes up, we try to crash the boards really hard so that we can get the ball back up or get the fast break,” Adams said.
Aliyah Dickson aided Adams, posting nine of her 13 points in the second half. But the Huskies saw their final lead (39-38) fizzle with Kim’s 8-for-8 performance at the free throw line in the final quarter.
“That’s really what Anna does, is that she’s a really great floor general,” said Cram. “She understands the game really well, and she’s a pretty fierce competitor.”
After the tournament, the Huskies (11-2) said they will take a few days off for rest, before facing St. Mary’s on Jan. 7, a rematch of last year's Division I state championship game.