The Braves from Kennewick erased painful memories of last year by beating University 47-36 to finish 2-1 in the tournament.

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TACOMA — Fourth place never felt so good.

For Kamiakin of Kennewick, the 2-1 finish in the Class 3A state girls basketball tournament — capped by a 47-36 victory over University of Spokane Valley Saturday morning — erased a painful memory.

Last year, the Braves came to the Tacoma Dome unbeaten and ranked No. 2 in the state. They left 0-2. And after the quarterfinal loss to Seattle Prep Thursday, their confidence could have been shaken. Instead, it strengthened their resolve.

“We just wanted to come back and redeem ourselves from last year,” senior Courtney Nelson said.

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A little redemption came Friday, when the seventh-ranked Braves (20-6) eliminated Mercer Island. Then they matched their best finish since 1996 by beating University for the second time in two weeks.

Nelson contributed 10 points, six rebounds and three steals, but it was junior Sira Toure who keyed this victory with a game-high 21 points. Sophomore Holley Ellison added 14. Kamiakin used a 10-2 run in the second quarter to open an 11-point lead. University never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

The Titans (15-12), who finished sixth, were led by freshman Brooke Bailey with 11 points, six of those coming at the free-throw line. Senior Kayleigh Valley ripped down 17 rebounds to go along with eight points.

University coach Mark Stinson said he was pleased with the season, especially since the Titans played most of it without returning starter Cassie Shillam, a junior who tore an ACL in mid-December.

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