By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
TACOMA — It was the sister matchup many thought would be the state championship game.
Instead the McPhee sisters and Pahukoa sisters met in the third/fifth place game and Brittany and Jordan McPhee got the better of the Lake Stevens sisters in their final high school game as Mount Rainier beat Lake Stevens 56-39 Saturday afternoon at Tacoma Dome.
Lake Stevens earns a fifth-place trophy with the loss, finishing behind Mead, Arlington, Mount Rainier, Gonzaga Prep. The Vikings end the season 20-9.
Saturday afternoon’s game was a quick turnaround for the Vikings, who lost to Wesco-rival Arlington in overtime the night before. Lake Stevens showed it, coming out a little slow and falling behind 9-6 after the first quarter.
“There’s no question about it. You expend so much energy and you’ve got to be back less than 12 hours later. It’s a really big, big challenge,” said Lake Stevens head coach Randy Edens.
“I think it was one of those things that early on we missed some easy opportunities and with a good team like Mount Rainier you have to convert.”
Mount Rainier extended its 9-6 lead to 29-18 at halftime and was seemingly in charge. In the second half, Lake Stevens fought back to within 12 points early in the fourth quarter but could not get any closer.
Edens said the loss hurt but he believes the players will look back on the state tournament as a success.
“When we get a chance to reflect on it, especially on where we had to go: We didn’t win a league title, we didn’t win a district title and to place fifth is pretty special,” Edens said.
Brooke and Brittney Pahukoa finished with 13 and nine points, respectively, in their last games as Lake Stevens players. Brittney, who hit a game-tying shot at the buzzer the night before to send the game into overtime, also had five assists and eight steals for the Vikings. The two sisters now take their games to Boise State.
“They’re more than likely once-in-a-lifetime players. I feel special that I got to coach them for their career and I’m really excited to see what they do at Boise State,” Edens said. “They’ve meant so much and they’ve led by example and they’re tremendously humble and motivated and that can be tough to do.”
Brittany McPhee finished with 25 points and 18 rebounds while sister Jordan had seven points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
At Tacoma Dome
Lake Stevens 6 11 12 10 — 39
Mount Rainier 9 20 14 13 — 56
Lake Stevens—Alex Briggs 3, Mallory Gipson 2, Cassidy Fifield 6, Chelsea Pahls 0, Kacie Reichert 0, Railey Pederson 0, Ivy Blackmon 0, Brittney Pahukoa 9, Emily Vandergrift 0, Brooke Pahukoa 13, Kali Long 6, Hailey Wilson 0. Mount Rainier—Jordan McPhee 7, Amanda Goucher 2, Kaiti Freeburg 5, Amber Guillot 3, Brittany McPhee 25, Jenna Shamseldin 0, Kenzie Gandy 0, Danika Santos 0, Ajah Piper 0, Aqueelah Williams 0, Emily Fiso 14. 3-point goals—Fiso 3, Fifield 2, Briggs 1, J. McPhee 1, Freeburg 1, Guillot 1, B. McPhee 1. Records—Lake Stevens 20-9. Mount Rainier 27-2.