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KENT – Chemistry is key in girls basketball. And Inglemoor is finding the right mix at the right time.

Deja Strother overcame early foul trouble to lead the seventh-ranked Vikings of Kenmore to an impressive 68-53 victory over No. 5 Mount Rainier of Des Moines on Monday in the King Showcase at the ShoWare Center.

It was their ninth straight win after a disappointing 2-3 start to the season, and it came on the heels of Saturday’s 10-point win over Eastlake, ranked No. 6 at the time.

The difference?

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“I think we just needed to find ourselves,” said the 6-foot-4 Strother, who finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. “We had to start playing as a team and playing together.”

The cohesiveness is starting to show.

“A couple of games ago, it actually looked like we liked each other and playing for each other,” coach John Augustavo said.

And Strother is learning how to keep herself on the court, even after picking up a fourth foul — which she did midway through the third quarter. She keyed Inglemoor’s 11-2 run to start the fourth with seven straight points, including two putbacks.

“She’s got a nice touch around the hoop,” Mount Rainier coach Bob Bolam said.

Strother, a junior who has committed to Washington, was on the bench with her second foul just 64 seconds into the game. Mount Rainier (12-3), which owes all three of its losses to ranked teams, quickly scored 13 unanswered points before she returned.

The Rams led 22-9 with less than a minute to go in the first quarter before Inglemoor (11-3) started to chip away. The Vikings were down by just five at the half. That surge to start the fourth gave them a 55-47 lead.

Mount Rainier, which shot just 25.9 percent from the field in the second half, got as close as 55-51 before another Strother putback ignited a 13-2 finish.

Kennedy Nicholas, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, also had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Mount Rainier got 27 points and 10 rebounds from Brittany McPhee, while Jordan McPhee had 12 points.

Beamer 53, Kentwood 40

Jalynn Piper went 3 for 3 from three-point range, including back-to-back bombs to start the second quarter, to lead a balanced Beamer attack with 12 points. Megan Huff and Quinessa Caylao-Do contributed 11 apiece for the unbeaten, third-ranked Titans (14-0). Huff added 13 rebounds and four steals.

Kentwood (10-4) got 12 points and nine rebounds from Jenny Johnson. Kate Kramer, in her seventh game back after summer knee surgery, chipped in 10 points. Sarah Toeaina was held to a season-low seven points, 11 below her average.

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