Aqeelah William's of Mt Rainier and a Inglemoor player go after a loose ball.
SLIDESHOW: Rams fall at ShoWare
By Gerardo Bolong
KENT - Poor shooting and late game weariness against a powerful inside presence were the core components against state fifth-ranked Mount Rainier in a 68-53 girls 4A basketball loss to No. 7 Inglemoor in the 2014 King Showcase presented by Ram Restaurant and Brewery held at the ShoWare Center on Mon., Jan. 20.
Leading by a wafer-thin 45-44 margin after three quarters, the Rams fell back for good in the face of an 11-2 Viking assault that was keyed by seven straight points from six-foot, four inch Deja Strother who had picked up her fourth foul midway through the third quarter.
"I've just learned how to play better when I'm in foul trouble," Strother said."I just keep playing through it."
Strother closed out with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Like a continually rising tide, Inglemoor overwhelmed the tremendously tired Mount Rainier squad in posting the final score. The Mount Rainier squad closed within 55-51 before a Strother goal ignited a 13-2 Inglemoor rush to the finale.
"We couldn't hit a shot and lost our legs a bit," admitted Ram head coach Bob Bolam. "They're deeper than us. We have to find ways to get more players in the game to stay fresh. Besides getting tired physically we also mentally wore out.
Mount Rainier initially used superior quickness and its man-to-man pressure to establish leads of 17-4 and 22-9 before the Vikings closed with a rush to trail only 22-14 after one quarter.
Brittany McPhee, Jordan McPhee and Aqellah Williams were having their way before Inglemoor (11-3) started chewing away at the lead.
A mere 64 seconds into the game, Strother took the bench after committing her second foul.
With everything going the way of the Rams, the Vikings gradually eroded the Ram lead to go into halftime with a 38-33.
In the third quarter, Mount Rainier was unable to crack the Inglemoor zone due in large part to shooting woes that produced a second half 25.9 percentage from the field.
"We were not finishing easy shots, especially in the third quarter," said Brittany McPhee who scored 23 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Her sister, Jordan McPhee scored 12 points and dished out four assists. Williams added 9 points.
Kennedy Nicholas joined Strother's totals with 11 Viking points and 12 rebounds. Mackenzie Gradner sent out seven assists.
At halftime, the Mount Rainier Music Company performed a moving tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. This choir has an upcoming engagement to perform at Carnegie Hall.
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