The top-ranked Rams’ start was certainly a luxury – a 22-3 lead in the first 91/2 minutes of the game – but the No. 6 Timberwolves never really were knocked cold until the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Brittany McPhee was sensational for Mount Rainer with 22 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. But after Jackson trimmed it to 42-31 early in the fourth quarter, the Rams went to others – with McPhee’s assistance, of course – notably Jordan McPhee (nine points), her younger sister, and post Kiana Gandy (16 points).
Jordan McPhee sank back-to-back baseline jumper, and Gandy owned the paint in the final four minutes.
A 9-2 Rams’ run, capped by two free throws from Brittany McPhee, put Mount Rainier up, 51-33, with 3:10 remaining.
“We were getting in a rut a little bit offensively, and thought we could get it through to our post against their post,” Mount Rainier coach Bob Bolam said. “Kiana did a nice job taking it to the hoop … and Brittany is always tough.”
After Jackson’s Sierra Anderson opened the game with the first basket, the Rams scored 16 unanswered points over a five-minute span.
“That start definitely killed us,” Jackson coach Jeannie Boyer said. “We had to dig from behind the entire game.”
Mount Rainier reaches its first semifinal, and will play Central Valley on Friday.