PUYALLUP – Emily Fiso figures she’ll have to be more than a supporting cast member if the Mount Rainier girls basketball team is going to win the Class 4A state championship.
Thursday night, she was the star for three quarters as the fifth-ranked Rams beat No. 3 Skyview of Vancouver, 65-61, in the semifinals of the West Central District 4A tournament at Puyallup High School.
Fiso scored all 19 of her points in those first three periods to help open things up for all-everything Brittany McPhee, who consistently draws double and triple teams. The Stanford-bound McPhee hit nine of her game-high 23 in the fourth as Mount Rainier (21-3) advanced to the championship game for the fourth year in a row.
The Rams will play No. 6 Beamer (23-1) Saturday at noon at Pacific Lutheran University in a rematch of last year’s final, seeking a third straight championship. Beamer (23-1), which advanced with a 60-53 overtime win against Bellarmine Prep, owes its only loss to Mount Rainier after beating the Rams earlier in the season. Fiso, a 6-foot junior, made her presence felt early, scoring her team’s final nine points of the opening period.
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“I just knew it was a big game and I had to step up,” she said.
And when she was open, Fiso wasn’t shy about shooting it, knocking down a trio of three-pointers. No one was happier to see that than McPhee.
“Every time the defense is sagging so much on me and she can just attack and get her own shots, it just relieves all the pressure,” McPhee said.
Jocelyn Adams led the Storm with 22, while Aubrey Ward-El added 19.
Beamer 60, Bellarmine Prep 53 (OT): Quinessa Caylao-Do couldn’t stand it any longer. Planning to rest a strained Achilles tendon for a third straight game, she entered the game midway through the fourth quarter and keyed the victory with six straight points in overtime.
“I was getting too worried,” the sophomore sharpshooter said. “I had to come out there and help my team.”
The Titans, who lost starter Bria Rice to a shoulder injury in the second quarter, rode Megan Huff (25 points) and Nia Alexander (13) most of the way. They led 12-2 and 19-10 in the first half, but had to come from behind in the fourth.
Bellarmine (19-4), which plays Skyview for third and fourth places Saturday at Auburn, got 19 points from Jasmyne Holmes.
Caitlyn Dixon’s tying three-point attempt rattled out in the final seconds and No. 7 Bellevue escaped the Sea-King 3A District tournament semifinals with a 61-56 win over No. 3 Bishop Blanchet (19-4) at Bellevue College.
With less than 10 seconds left and Bellevue (19-5) leading 59-56, Dixon, who scored a team-high 15 points, saw her attempt to tie the game hit off the backboard, the front of the rim and then back iron before being grabbed by the Wolverines’ Shelby Cansler.
Both teams are already guaranteed a regional berth and will play Saturday for seeding purposes.
Staff reporter Josh Liebeskind contributed to this report.