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Rojas and Talamaivao-Calderon lead Titans to tournament title

Women's Basketball Team Wins The Pierce Holiday Tournament
Women's Basketball Team Wins The Pierce Holiday Tournament

The Titans got a career-high in points and rebounds from Kalina Rojas a career-high in points for Aolani Talamaivao-Calderon, and won the Pierce Holiday Invitational against Columbia Basin, 71-63.

How it happened: Both teams got off to good starts offensively, but Columbia Basin had a 16-11 advantage after four minutes of play in the 1st. A Megan Still three and a pair of Aolani Talamaivao-Calderon jump shots gave the Titans the lead; a lead that they would never surrender.

Aolani Talamaivo-Calderon led all scorers in the quarter with 10, on 5-6 shooting; that total surpassed her total from the previous three games. The Titans leading scorer was scoreless, but Mya India Thomas had five assists to help run the offense. Notable, the Titans only had two turnovers in the quarter.

The 2nd quarter was the Kalina Rojas show; she scored the first two baskets of the quarter and the Titans had the game's first double-digit lead, 30-19 with 8:41 remaining. The lead grew to as large as 15, but the Hawks got a three from Megan Haugen with 3:17 to go, down 38-29. The Titans quickly extended their lead back to 14 points, but the Hawks finished the quarter with four made free throws and the Titans led 45-35 at half.

Kalina Rojas led the way with eight points and five rebounds. Kylie Guelsdorf had five points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal. The Titans shooting percentage dropped to 35 percent and the turnover total doubled to four and they committed seven fouls, but they still won the quarter due to 21.1 percent mark from the field by Columbia Basin.

Kalina Rojas and Aolani Talamaivao-Calderon scored 13 of the first 15 for the Titans and they led 60-47 with 3:30 left in the 3rd. The Titans won the quarter 19-12 and led 64-47.

Kalina Rojas had seven points and Aolani Talamaivao-Calderon had six points. A 47.1 percent shooting mark and only two turnovers helped the Titans, along with holding Columbia Basin to a 27.3 percent mark.

The Titans grew their led to the largest it would be, 18, with 8:43 remaining in the 4th. It would be almost two minutes until either team scored again, but Columbia Basin kept themselves alive with a quick 4-0 run with 5:27 to go. Columbia Basin finished on an 11-3 run, but the Titans prevailed 71-63.

The 4th was a poor shooting quarter for the Titans, shooting only 25 percent and only attempting eight shots. Mya India Thomas had her best scoring quarter with four points. The Hawks shot only 33.3 percent from the floor, but they were plus nine from behind the arch and the Titans shot 3-10 from the line.

What/who stood out: The Titans had 12 turnovers; an improvement on 33 and 20 in the first two games of the tournament. The Titans made 1-11 threes and shot 12-21 from the line; but their defense stepped-up by holding Columbia Basin to 31.6 percent shooting and 29.7 percent from three.

Kalina Rojas had 21 points and nine rebounds and Aolani Talamaivao-Calderon had 18 points to set new career-highs. Mya India Thomas was named the tournament MVP; she didn't have a big game shooting with four points, but eight assists with three turnovers helped to start the offense.

What it means: The Titans move to 7-1 and take a three game non-home winning streak to their next tournament. The Titans showed improvement and an ability to win the paint when their perimeter shooting is not there.

What's next: The Titans head to the Columbia Basin crossover this Friday Dec. 14. They play Everett at 5 p.m. to open the tournament.