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Lane wins 5th NWAC Women's Basketball Championship

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March 13, 2016 - By Jim Hoehn

LANE 76   PENINSULA 59 stats

EVERETT, WA -- Sophomores Shelby Snook and Gabby Heehn combined to turn a tale of two halves into a championship story for the Lane Titans.

Snook scored 17 of her game-high 23 points in the second half and Heehn tallied 18 first-half points on six 3-pointers to lead Lane to a 76-59 victory over defending champion Peninsula in the NWAC women's title game on Sunday.

The title was the fifth for Lane since 2006 under coach Greg Sheley, but the first since 2013 and avenged an 85-75 loss to the Pirates in last year's championship game.

"We kind of started off hitting on all cylinders," Sheley said. "Gabby got off early and that really helped open up things for Shelby. Shelby was a little rusty early on, but she finished strong for us."

Lane (32-1) jumped out to a 19-6 lead behind Heehn, who hit her first five 3-point attempts. The Pirates pulled within 29-19 at the end of the first quarter and got within 29-25 midway through the second period, but the Titans pushed the halftime lead back to 43-33.

Peninsula (25-6) made another run midway through the third quarter to cut the lead to 45-40, but the Titans responded again to boost the margin to 57-47 entering the fourth quarter.

Imani Smith, who led Peninsula with 22 points, hit two free throws to pull the Pirates within 62-54 with 4:44 remaining, but the Titans answered with six consecutive points to open a 68-54 lead with 3:31 left.

"They're a really good team," Sheley said. "They're the defending champions, so they're not going to give it up easily. We knew they were going to come back and thank goodness we were able to keep it at about 10."

Sparked by Heehn, Lane was 10-of-13 from beyond the arc in the first half for an astonishing 76.9 percent. Snook, who was 2-of-9 from the field in the first half, took the ball to the basket in the second half, often scoring on drives down the left side.

Cierra Moss added 21 points for Peninsula, while Zhara Lastrer pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds and Daijahn Cooks added 11 boards.

Jordan Kimbrough added 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds for the Titans.

'It's just a feeling of joy," said Snook, who was named the tournament MVP. "I'm just really glad we were able to do this for all of us, coaches, teammates, everyone."

Heehn shot Lane out to an early double-digit lead, making her first five 3-point attempts. Heehn's fifth 3-pointer from the top left put Lane up 19-6 with 5:41 remaining in the first quarter.

"Once shooters get in rhythm, we want the ball because we know we're on fire," Heehn said. "And, the more confident we are, the more likely we're going to make everything we put up."

Mallory Shields' 3-pointer gave the Titans their biggest lead of the quarter at 26-11, but the Pirates trimmed the deficit to 29-19 on Smith's straight-on 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left in the quarter.

Smith and Moss opened the second quarter with consecutive 3-pointers to pull Peninsula within 29-25.

Lane kept up its long-range barrage, pushing the lead back to 38-28 on Shields' 3- pointer with 3:00 left in the half.

The Titans took a double-digit lead into the locker room when Snook hit the first of two free throws to make it 43-33.

"It's too good of a team to go down that early," Peninsula coach Alison Crumb said. "We battled. It could have been so much worse. They can score so easily on so many different levels."

"The character and the toughness and the quality of your team is what gets you here. Its' not going to be defined by 30 minutes of basketball," Crumb said. "There are 34 other teams that would rather be here than where they're at right now."

All-Tournament Team
MVP - Shelby Snook, Lane

First Team
Bre DuBois, Lane
Jordan Kimbrough, Lane
Ceirra Moss, Peninsula
Mallory Shields, Lane
Imani Smith, Peninsula

Second Team
Zhara Laster, Peninsula
Drew Carlos, Wenatchee Valley
Katie Hankin, Lower Columbia
Shayla Jensen, Wenatchee Valley
Bri King, Spokane

Art Fiero Most Inspirational
Gabby Heehn, Lane

MVP Shelby Snook and Most Inspirational - Gabby Heehn

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