In theory, five near-Brittany McPhees should beat one superstar Brittany McPhee every time in a girls basketball showdown.
Especially when that one super-human junior is just rounding back into form after a week-long battle with the flu.
Still, there were a few hold-your-breath moments Monday as McPhee and the top-ranked Mount Rainier Rams hosted national powerhouse Oregon City (Ore.) and all of its college-bound players in a King Showcase classic at the ShoWare Center in Kent on Monday afternoon.
McPhee did her finest to pull this one out – tallying 30 points, including the final nine points of regulation. But the Pioneers had the final say as Jenae Paine buried an 18-foot corner jumper at the buzzer, lifting Oregon City to a 54-52 overtime victory.
It was the Rams’ first loss of the season. Yet, as the Mount Rainier girls made their way out of the locker room afterward, they were not sulking. They were as upbeat as you’d expect after losing a heartbreaker.
“We’ve been fighting the flu all weekend,” McPhee said. “I am really proud they fought hard.”
It was probably a game in which the Rams were underdogs coming in. Before last week’s loss, Oregon City was ranked 13th in the country – and is still rated No. 1 in that state’s 6A rankings.
And as many turnovers as the Pioneers were forcing with their fullcourt pressure (22), they could not make the Rams pay on their other end with wide-open 3-pointers (2-for-27).
Still, Oregon City led 46-37 with 2:46 remaining.
“It was a game we could just never quite stretch it out and put them away,” Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf said. “We have been a team when usually we get you up 10 (points), we put the pedal to the metal and get after it. We just could not make enough shots.”
A nine-point deficit just isn’t large enough when McPhee is still around. She went on a 9-0 run by herself to close out regulation – capped by two free throws with 3.2 seconds to go – to force overtime.
In overtime, the Pioneers were getting baskets, but Amber Guillot and Aqueelah Williams sank 3-pointers to keep it tied at 52-52 as Oregon City set up a final possession.
Paine initially missed a 3-pointer with a few seconds to go, but the ball rotated back to her off a rebound, and she took one step closer to the basket – and sank the 18-footer right when the buzzer sounded.