Photos by Kurt Howard
All hands on ball. Girls Basketball - Auburn Riverside (39) @ Mt Rainier (61) 1-3-14

SLIDESHOW: Rams rout Ravens

By Gerardo Bolong

DES MOINES - Defensive mastery ushered in the new year for the Class 4A SPSL North Division leading Mount Rainier girls basketball team in a 61-39 destruction of second place Auburn Riverside at the Ram home court on Friday, Jan. 3.

"Our man-to-man defensive pressure defense was the key," Ram head coach Bob Bolam simply stated. "It was really good defense."

Mt. Rainier (6-0 league, 7-2 overall) sowed the seeds of victory by virtue of a 14-0 first quarter run that catapulted it into a 14-4 lead. This opportunistic aggression was fueled by the swarming defense, Jordan McPhee's running of the offense and Brittany McPhee's scoring from all areas and venues of the court.

Brittany McPhee scored 14 points and marshaled the Ram rebounding forces on both ends of the court in the initial quarter's action.

Auburn Riverside ran off five consecutive points to open the second quarter and trail by only seven points at 20-13.

Any pretense of a tight, competitive match up was mightily dispelled at this point.

Hitting the offensive boards strongly, Brittany McPhee and company later stormed the courts for 13 consecutive points and a 36-16 halftime dominance that eventually cascaded to a game-high 45-17 control early in the third quarter while the Ravens retreated in flight.

Although Auburn Riverside (4-2, 7-3) fought hard, it was unable to get closer than 19 points the rest of the game.

For the game, Brittany McPhee closed out with 31 points -- 21 in the first half.

The Rams' only losses have been to Lynnwood (57-54 in two overtimes in the Muscle Milk Preview) and 64-59 at Todd Beamer.

"Those were good teams, but we're a good team," added Bolam. "We just have to play better."

Mt. Rainier continues to hone its game so that opponents can't surround Brittany McPhee without paying a price.

"We're doing fine," continued Bolam. "Our whole starting five can score. We just need to move the ball around and share the ball to let everybody have opportunities, but if it's there (a chance for Brittany) we'll take it. Kaiti has been more aggressive recently."

Joining the starting five scoring with McPhee were southpaw Emily Fiso (13), Jordan McPhee (8), Aqueelah Williams (5), and Kaiti Freeberg (4). Fiso also played strongly in the low post as well as gathering rebounds. Brittni Williams led AR with 11 points.

Bolam concluded with these comments.

"Our goal is still to win league and get to district," he said. "District will be tougher than last year, but our ultimate goal is to get back to state."

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