Every victory brings the dream a little closer. And Brittany McPhee remembers just how close the Mount Rainier High School girls basketball...
KENT — Every victory brings the dream a little closer.
And Brittany McPhee remembers just how close the Mount Rainier High School girls basketball team came to playing for the Class 4A state championship last season.
So when the top-ranked Rams beat No. 7 Beamer of Federal Way 51-33 Monday night at ShoWare Center to earn a second straight West Central District 4A championship, McPhee weighed the importance in terms of playoff positioning.
“Our ultimate goal is getting to state and doing well there,” the 6-foot- junior said after pouring in 26 points.
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Being the No. 1 seed means Mount Rainier (24-1) plays Kentridge (14-11) — the seventh-place WCD finisher and a team the Rams have beaten twice — in Friday’s regional round. Beamer (20-5) gets a tougher regional draw against sixth-ranked Arlington (19-4).
McPhee admits she often dwells on the memory of last year’s state tournament, where the Rams lost in the semifinals to Central Valley of Spokane on a three-pointer with less than five seconds to play.
“Gosh, we almost had it,” she tells herself. “I really want it.”
That desire was evident early Monday as the Rams bolted to a 14-0 lead with McPhee providing 10 of those points. Beamer didn’t score until just 16 seconds were left in the quarter.
It was a much different story when the teams met on the same court a week and a half ago in the SPSL championship game. The Titans, enjoying their best season in school history, led most of the way before losing by one.
Monday, they were without freshman point guard Bria Rice, who missed her third straight game with an ankle sprain.
“It’s tough when you don’t have your primary ballhandler out there,” said Beamer coach Corey Alexander, noting he hopes Rice is ready to play Friday. “But we showed some heart. We could have folded.”
Beamer got as close as eight in the third quarter before McPhee triggered a 14-2 run. Twin Jordan McPhee was also key with 13 points, including a trio of three-pointers. The Rams held 6-foot-3 Megan Huff, who had 28 points the first time the teams met, to only five. Freshmen Quinessa Caylao-Do (15) and Nia Alexander (13) did the most damage Monday.
3A title game
Wilson 68, Prairie 42
Bethany Montgomery led four players in double figures with 18 as the third-ranked Rams (20-2) left no doubt against No. 1 Prairie (21-3), the defending district and state champion.
Wilson, which was rated No. 1 at the start of the season, led just 46-38 before ripping off 15 unanswered points. Kapri Morrow had eight of her 14 points during that span. Tia Briggs contributed 12 of her 16 in the first half.
The Rams, whose only in-state loss was to No. 2 Cleveland, played its most complete game of the season.
“We had to get that monkey off our back,” coach Michelle Birge said, referring to her team’s history of coming up short in big games. “We had a lot of doubters.”
Wilson will face Bonney Lake (15-10) in the regional round, while Prairie gets No. 5 Bellevue (23-2).
2A title game
Sumner 57, White River 43
The Spartans (22-4) took control with a 19-3 run to start the second half en route to their first district championship. White River had beaten Sumner twice during the regular season.
Leading scorer Kennedy Hobert, who averages 19 points, tried to play with a badly sprained wrist, but was clearly affected and missed all 11 of her shots. The Hornets, who were also without starter Sutton Mills (concussion), shot just 20.3 percent from the field.
Brenna Allsop led the Spartans with 11 points and Anna Hurd had 10. Amanda Lance scored 17, while Kristin Sturdivan put together 15 points and 12 rebounds for third-ranked White River (21-4).