Kiara Brooks, Timberline High School’s standout point guard, paced the Blazers to a third consecutive win Saturday night in Tacoma.
Her hustle in transition and dynamic play driving into the paint helped Timberline rally past a physical Wilson team in the second half, and close out a 54-43 victory.
Brooks, a junior, finished with a team-high 17 points for the Blazers — and two gashes crossing her right eye.
“We’ve been playing a lot of teams from our league, so it’s nice to have a team that’s not in our league to see what we’re going to see in the playoffs, and how physical it can get,” Brooks said. “We just have to get bigger and more physical, too.”
Play stopped a handful of times during the contest to tend to players who hit the deck hard.
Brooks was hit in the eyes twice — and said after the game she had trouble seeing out of her left eye — and left the game for good late in the fourth quarter, but not before leading the Blazers on a run in the third that gave them the final lead.
“The intensity we matched is what we need to do,” Timberline coach Tim Borchardt said. “It’s what we need to do every game.”
Brooks gave Timberline its first lead with three minutes, 38 seconds remaining in the third on a free throw. Senior forward Keshara Romain converted a layup two minutes later to put the Blazers in front for good at 35-33.
Romain chipped in 13 points for Timberline, while junior forward Mia Harriott added 11, and Brooks scored 10 of her 17 points in the second half to keep Wilson out of reach.
“She’s taken a step forward,” Borchardt said of Brooks, who averages 16.4 points per game. “Her scoring has increased, which we wanted her to do. ... She’s just maturing into an all-around point guard.”
Timberline allowed just eight points from the Rams in the final quarter to pull away.
“One of our keys is always defense,” Romain said.
Freshman guard Aaliyah Walker scored a game-high 18 points for the Rams, and junior guard Brooklyn Grant added nine — all on 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the game to give Wilson an early lead — but it wasn’t enough.
“When the defense sparked and we were getting steals and they weren’t making layups, and we were in help, then that helps with the offensive end,” Brooks said.
Timberline (8-4, 6-2 3A South Sound Conference) remains in the three-way tie for second place in league play. Borchardt and Brooks both said it was good to get a win against district rival Wilson, which ended Timberline’s season last year.
The Blazers have won four of their last five games, with just a 1-point loss to Shelton earlier this month.
“Consistency is something we’ve been preaching,” Borchardt said. “I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Saturday’s game was part of a six-game slate at Wilson High School’s “Assist for Life Basketball Classic.” All proceeds, including the $2,597 raised from ticket sales, benefit the fight against cancer.
T – Romain 13, Dyas 4, Williams 2, Huynh 4, Bush 2, Brooks 17, Grantham 1, Harriott 11
W – Stubblefield, Walker 18, Grant 9, Maxwell 3, Pon 2, Groshong 2, Birge 2, Lalau 7