Sunday, March 09, 2014

McPhee sisters have one last chance to win it all for Mount Rainier

Sandy Ringer,, March 5, 2014

Mount Rainier star Brittany McPhee, and her twin sister, have one final chance to win a state title. The Rams lost in the semifinals the past two years, by a combined three points.
Her resume is remarkable.
Brittany McPhee will leave Mount Rainier High School with an armload of accolades as she heads to Stanford, including multiple player of the year awards and a stack of records.
But what matters most to McPhee is winning games. The Rams have done plenty of that during her four-year career, compiling a 99-14 record that has led to a pair of third-place trophies at the state tournament.
Yet she and twin sister crave the victory that has eluded them, the one that would bring the school’s first state basketball championship. They get their final chance this week at the Class 4A tournament in the Tacoma Dome.
“That would be amazing,” Brittany said. “It’s been the ultimate goal since my sister and I have been going to the Tacoma Dome when we were in like sixth grade, just to be able to play on Saturday in the championship game.
“But only two teams get to do it out of the whole state. We have to kind of look back in the past years and appreciate that we’ve made it to state. But, overall, there’s kind of that shadow that we haven’t won it.”
Mount Rainier’s semifinal losses the past two years were by a combined three points, including a 51-50 heartbreaker to eventual-champion Mead of Spokane last season. The team also reached the quarterfinals when the McPhees were freshmen, finishing 0-2.
This year, the fourth-ranked Rams (23-3) ride an 11-game win streak into Thursday’s 2 p.m. quarterfinal game, where they face No. 3 Inglemoor (21-3) — the last team to beat them, 68-53 on Jan. 20. This is a rematch of a quarterfinal Mount Rainier won last year, 61-56.
“We know it’s going to be a tough battle,” McPhee said.
It’s a loaded tournament field that includes No. 1 Lynnwood (23-1), No. 2 Gonzaga Prep (22-1), No. 5 Skyview (24-2), No. 8 Arlington (20-4) and No. 9 Moses Lake (19-4) in addition to red-hot Kentwood (20-6), which knocked off No. 7 Chiawana to qualify.
Arlington placed second last year and Skyview won the title in 2012.
Mount Rainier coach Bob Bolam said the McPhees’ legacy goes beyond the victories. The program had success before the twins arrived, but they took teams to another level.
“They brought a lot of energy and work ethic to our program, along with a lot of skill and basketball IQ,” Bolam said. “It made everyone else in our program step up and become better players, too, and made us work harder as coaches. ... They’ve brought a legacy of having a desire to be better, be the best, be as good as you can be.”
And a deep desire to finish on top.
“Winning a state championship would just be a culmination of all of that coming to fruition to what they’ve done,” Bolam said. “They’ve really wanted it and worked really hard for it, so hopefully we can cap their senior year off by getting there.”

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