Sophomore Aqueelah Williams, averaging only 5.8 points per game coming in, scored a season-high 19 as the Rams overcame a slow start.
DES MOINES — Aqueelah Williams waited for her time to come.
And when her Mount Rainier girls basketball team needed a lift, Williams decided the wait was over.
The sophomore guard scored a season-high 19 points to help spark the top-ranked Rams to a come-from-behind victory over Auburn Riverside Friday night, 73-58. She also had an assortment of assists, steals and rebounds in putting together a complete game.
Williams, who played sparingly at Cleveland last season, came in averaging just 5.8 points but broke out of her shell when the Rams fell into an early 13-7 hole.
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“I was kind of waiting for a time to see when my team was down and actually needed me,” she said.
Coach Bob Bolam welcomed her coming-out party.
“Aqueelah came out and played like crazy,” he said.
Of course, Brittany McPhee had another crazy-good game, too, pouring in 28 points as the Rams (18-1, 15-0) wrapped up the SPSL 4A North Division title for a second straight year.
Auburn Riverside (12-5, 11-3) had won seven in a row and was coming off a big win over Kentwood.
The Ravens stayed hot early, pushed the tempo and forcing 10 first-quarter turnovers en route to a 21-16 lead. But Mount Rainier didn’t panic.
“We just had to calm down and play our game,” McPhee said.
That they did. The Rams owned the next two quarters, outscoring Riverside 44-15. They opened the second quarter with an 18-2 run fueled by McPhee (nine points) and Williams (seven).
The Ravens cooled off quickly, missing their first nine shots and hitting just three of 20 in the quarter.
In the process, they lost point guard Kendall Foster, who reinjured her left knee with 2:32 remaining in the half and her team trailing just 29-23. Foster had surgery to repair a torn ACL just last August and was making a remarkable return after sitting out the first five games of the season, averaging 13 points.
She tried to be upbeat after the game.
“I’ll be fine,” she said.
Shantell Jackson led the Ravens with 16 points, and Simona Allen added 11.
The Rams, who suffered their lone loss Monday to Oregon City, Ore., in overtime, stretched a seven-point halftime lead to 14 early in the third quarter and were up by 24 heading into the fourth.
“They’re No. 1 for a reason,” Riverside coach Tim Nelson said.