The formula never changes for the Wilson High girls basketball team.
First step: Keep the city hostage.
Next: Think about conquering the state.
And the three-time defending 3A Narrows League champions continued to do that Wednesday, methodically pulling away from chief city rival Lincoln, 73-52, in their home gymnasium.
It wasn’t an easy game to gain control of. The teams combined for 56 fouls, which led to 74 free throws.
“We knew it was going to be a physical game,” Rams coach Michelle Birge said. “They went to state (last season); we went to state. Our girls want to be known as the best team in the state.”
For now, they easily remain the top girls metro program in Tacoma.
And the No. 7 Rams (7-3, 5-0 in 3A Narrows) did it with a switching zone defense, designed to stay in front of, and at times climb over the back of Abes standout post player Tamia Braggs.
It often left Lincoln shooters open perimeter shots, which they did not knock down early, making just 1 of 9 field goals in the first quarter.
And Wilson did make big shots — three 3-pointers — in the first quarter. Two of them came from Kiara McMillan as the Rams built an early 19-6 advantage.
“You can’t spot good teams (big leads),” Lincoln coach Jamila Jones said. “I told our girls, ‘If you don’t go take (the 3A Narrows title) from them, they are not just giving you the title.’ ”
After halftime, it was Kiara “Kiki” Knox time for the Rams.
The junior forward tallied 14 of her 17 points in the third quarter as the Rams scored on seven of their first nine trips.
“At the beginning, I was getting down on myself — and my teammates stepped up to tell me and let me know I have to work out there, and leave the past mistakes behind,” Knox said. “That brought my energy up in the second half.”
Erica Hamlin led all scorers with 20 points for Wilson. Violet Morrow added nine points and 12 rebounds. Bragg paced the Abes (4-4, 3-2) with 13 points, with Aamira Turner chipping in with 12.