Umatilla guard Kassie Kennedy exploded in the second half for 17 of her game-high 19 points to lead the Vikings to a 55-31 win over the Columbia (Wash.) Bruins on Monday at Umatilla High School.

Kennedy virtually took over the third quarter, hitting a pair of 3-pointers early in the frame to give Umatilla a 36-17 advantage with 5:39 left. She wasn’t done, however, and showed off some nifty moves with a transition layin with less than a minute left in the period.

Her highlight reel ended with an ankle-breaking crossover move in the fourth quarter, where she ended up splitting two Columbia defenders on her way to the bucket to put the game away for Umatilla. They led 51-26 after the hoop with 4:02 left to play.

“She was phenomenal,” Umatilla coach Scott Bow said. “She’s making people respect her outside shot now. She put in a lot of hard work over the summer.”

While Kennedy had a banner night, her supporting cast filled their roles admirably. Catherine Routson had eight points, but along with Naomi Castanon, absolutely owned the glass and the middle of the paint. Castanon scored 14 points down on the block, mostly coming off a silky-smooth turn-around jumper that the smaller Columbia posts could not defend with any consistency.

Columbia’s long-range shooting kept them hanging around in the first half, but as the game progressed the Vikings were just too much for them. Laurel Huth connected on three longballs for the Bruins and ended with 14 points.

With the win, Umatilla moves to 3-0 and will open up its own tournament, the Columbia River Clash, at 7 p.m. Thursday against Pilot Rock.

For more on the game, check out the Hermiston Herald sports blog, Herald Preps, at heraldpreps.blogspot.com

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