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Originally published December 14, 2013 at 5:44 PM | Page modified December 14, 2013 at 7:39 PM

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Sarah Toeaina comes up big in No. 8 Kentwood’s win over Wilson | Girls basketball

Toeaina had 12 of her 23 points in the final seven minutes of the Conquerors’ 50-48 victory at the Muscle Milk Preview.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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DES MOINES – Sarah Toeaina was clearly out of sorts.

A sore tooth and strange environment caused her to struggle for the first three quarters of Saturday’s basketball game with Wilson of Tacoma in the Muscle Milk Preview at Highline Community College.

But when the eighth-ranked Conquerors needed her most, Toeaina stepped up, scoring 12 of her 23 points in the final seven minutes to key a 50-48 victory.

“That’s the leadership she has, being able to make things happen,” coach Lisa Ashley said.

It’s also the trust teammates have in the 5-foot-10 Toeaina, who added 10 rebounds, three assists and a key steal with 3.5 seconds to play.

“We feel comfortable with the ball in Sarah’s hands in the fourth quarter,” said fellow senior Jenny Johnson, who was also huge with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Wilson, which returns just one starter from the team that placed third in the 3A state tournament last season, took its first lead of the game midway through the fourth, 40-38, and had multiple opportunities to regain it in the final minute.

“I am feeling really good about this game,” said coach Michelle Birge, whose team dropped to 4-2 with both losses to solid 4A teams. “We stood in our own way. It goes to our youth.”

Wilson’s freshman point guard Josie Matz scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half. Junior Violet Morrow, the lone starter back, scored her 12 all in the final 10 minutes and added 10 rebounds. Senior Tyra Foster added 14 points and eight boards.

Kentwood (3-1) reached the 4A Final Eight last year and has a solid core back, but was upset 56-37 by Kentridge on Tuesday.

“That humbled us,” Toeaina, a University of Hawaii commit, said.

“It was definitely a good wake-up call,” Johnson added.

And the Conquerors need to be wide awake this week as they face two key SPSL 4A North contenders: Auburn Riverside on Tuesday and No. 2 Mount Rainier on Friday.

Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or

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