Sierra Anderson took an inbounds pass with 5.1 seconds to play, raced the length of the court and scored to give Jackson a 49-48 victory for fourth place.
TACOMA — Sierra Anderson screamed in sheer disbelief.
“Did this just happen?” she wondered.
In one of the most improbable finishes in recent history, Anderson took an inbounds pass with 5.1 seconds to play, raced the length of the court and kissed a layin off the glass to lift Jackson to a 49-48 victory over Woodinville and a fourth-place finish in the Class 4A state girls basketball tournament Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
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It had been a quiet game to that point for Anderson, with just two other baskets. Fellow sophomore Kelli Kingma was playing hero with 21 points, including a long three-pointer that pulled the Timberwolves within 48-47 with 42 seconds to play.
After a missed free throw, Jackson (22-5) had possession and coach Jeannie Boyer wanted the ball in Anderson’s hands. She was supposed to drive and dish, but no one could stop her.
“She was just flat-out too fast to catch,” Boyer said.
Speedy Ali Forde chased Anderson from one end to the other, as Woodinville (23-4) had a foul to give. But no one could catch Anderson.
“I just knew at the end, I was going to get the ball and I needed to deliver,” she said.
Kingma, who added 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals, stepped up after two rough games at state. She made 8 of 19 shots, including a pair of threes, as the Timberwolves secured the school’s best finish. Their only other trophy, for eighth place, came in 2007.
“I just wanted to win for our seniors so bad,” Kingma said.
Forde was impressed, saying, “That Kingma girl is good.”
So is Forde, who closed out her prep career with 16 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and four steals. She was bummed about the loss, having her heart set on bettering last year’s school-best fifth-place showing. She reluctantly called it “a good finish.”
Coach Scott Bullock said he had no regrets.
“You hate to lose like that, it hurts,” he said. “But you’ve got to give them credit.”
Mount Rainier 56,
Gonzaga Prep 51 (3rd-5th)
The game was slipping away. Again. But sophomore Jordan McPhee would have none of it.
With twin Brittany on the bench with five fouls, Jordan was all over the court to help preserve the victory and the Rams’ best state finish.
“We’ve worked so hard, I wasn’t going to lose this one,” she said. “I wanted to end on a good note.”
The Rams (27-2) were determined to bounce back from Friday’s stunning semifinal loss to Central Valley on a late three-pointer. This one was starting to shape up the same way, as a nine-point lead turned into a four-point deficit early in the final quarter.
But Brittany McPhee keyed a 12-2 run that included Amber Gulliot’s third three-pointer. Brittany, who had missed two key free throws late against CV, hit four straight to help Mount Rainier take a 53-47 advantage with 1:29 to go. She fouled out with 41.3 seconds left and a 53-49 lead.
Clutch free throws by senior Kiana Gandy helped seal it. She was 6 for 6 at the line for her only points.
This wasn’t the first-place finish the once top-ranked Rams had hoped for, but a big improvement over last year’s 0-2 state effort.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Brittany said. “We get closer and closer each year.”