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Kentwood falls short against Mount Rainier | Prep Girls Basketball
Kentwood wouldn't give up, despite being down by double digits more than once against Mount Rainier Saturday night at home.
The Conquerors fell just a little short in the South Puget Sound League 4A North game against the Rams, who held on to win 63-61 to remain undefeated.
Still, to come that close against a team multiple media outlets have ranked No. 1 among 4A girls teams in the state, was a tremendous accomplishment, Kentwood coach Lisa Ashley said.
"It's huge," Ashley said. "This just goes to show if they're ranked No. 1, we can play with anyone."
It was the narrowest win of the season for Mount Rainier, who only have one other single digit win this season with its 68-61 victory in the first game over non-league opponent Eastlake Nov. 27.
Mount Rainier raced out to a 17-8 lead in the first quarter and was up 26-10 early in the second quarter when Kentwood went on an 11-0 run to close the gap to just five points.
Then the Rams junior standout Brittany McPhee scored six straight points followed by a three from Jordan McPhee to push the lead back out to 14 heading into halftime, 35-21.
Early in the third, the Conks were down 16, but cut the lead down again to single digits by the end of the period which set up a frenetic fourth-quarter as the game came down to the wire.
Kentwood junior Sarah Toeaina scored 12 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter as she created turnovers which led to points or put her head down and drove the lane.
With just under two minutes left on the game clock, Toeaina hit a jumper to cut the lead to two, but the Conks couldn't quite find the shot to pull even though with 4.4 seconds left Toeaina had three shots at the free throw line but missed the first before making the other two to make it a one point game.
On a wild play after Mount Rainier got the ball in bounds following those free throws, Brittany McPhee was fouled in the battle for the loose ball which sailed away from another Rams player toward the sidelines.
Brittany McPhee made one of two, finishing with a game high 28 points, helping the Rams hold onto the win.
It was a game Kentwood had looked forward to since the teams met for the first time in league play Dec. 13 when Mount Rainier came away with a 27-point victory over an injury and illness-plague Conquerors squad.
Kentwood's only league losses this season have been to Mount Rainier.
With the loss, Kentwood fell to 10-2 in league with four games remaining on the SPSL North schedule and 10-3 overall.
Next up for Kentwood is a non-league contest against Jackson, the team which knocked the Conks out of the playoffs in 2012. That game is set for 10 a.m. Monday at ShoWare Center in Kent as part of the King Showcase event on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, which is a holiday for the Kent School District.