Jenae Paine hit a game-winning 18-footer at the buzzer as Oregon City overcame 30 points by Brittany McPhee of the Rams.
KENT — The potential dividends almost outweighed the immediate disappointment.
Even ultracompetitive Brittany McPhee admits the Mount Rainier High School girls basketball team might benefit come playoff time from Monday’s 54-52 overtime loss to Oregon City in the King Showcase at the ShoWare Center.
“I think it’s a really good game to prepare us for February, and hopefully March,” the star junior said.
Jenae Paine nailed the game-winner at the buzzer, an 18-footer from the baseline that hit nothing but net.
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It was the first loss of the season for the Rams (16-1) from Des Moines, Washington’s top-rated team in Class 4A. Multitalented Oregon City (15-1) is ranked No. 1 in Oregon’s largest classification (6A).
McPhee’s two free throws with 3.2 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 46, completing a comeback that seemed unlikely when the Pioneers led 46-37 with 2:50 on the clock. McPhee scored the final nine points of regulation and finished with 30.
“She’s a tremendous kid,” OC coach Kurt Guelsdorf said of the 6-foot McPhee. “The thing that stands out more than other superstar kids is her motor, getting to the offensive boards.”
Four of McPhee’s 12 rebounds were on the offensive end. Twin Jordan McPhee added 12 points and six rebounds, despite playing with the flu. She threw up during the break before overtime and didn’t return.
Both teams were coming off narrow victories. Mount Rainier went to the wire against Kentwood on Saturday before winning, 63-61. Oregon City held off Clackamas, Ore., by one on Friday.
“That’s just the OC way,” Paine said of her team’s ability to win close games.
Oregon City is a storied program with multiple state titles and has been ranked as high as No. 14 in the nation this season. Three Pioneers seniors have Division-I college scholarships, including 6-foot Jo Paine, Jenae’s twin, and 5-5 guard Montana Walters, both headed to Santa Clara. Jo Paine had 13 points and eight rebounds Monday, while Walters contributed 11 points and nine assists.
The Rams were playing their fourth game in seven days and have another Tuesday against a quality Auburn Riverside team. Like McPhee, Mount Rainier coach Bob Bolam took mostly positives out of Monday’s game.
“All of our goals are still in front of us,” he said.