By Meg Wochnick
YAKIMA -- Mark Morris forced overtime with a game-tying bucket with 2.2 seconds left in regulation, then Raimee Sluder and Kourtney Eaton hit four free throws in the final 28 seconds of the four-minute overtime to lift the Monarchs to a 49-46 overtime victory over River Ridge in the teams 2A girls state semifinal game Friday night at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
The wins sends the top-ranked Monarchs (24-2) to Saturday's 7 p.m title game against 2A Evergreen Conference champion W.F. West, which defeated Renton, 44-25, in the other semifinal game. It will be a rematch of the District IV title game from Feb. 15, in which the Monarchs won, 49-43.
River Ridge will face Renton at Saturday's 1 p.m third/fifth-place game. The two teams faced off during the regular season with Renton defeated the Hawks, 53-42.
River Ridge (20-6) led by as many as six in the second half at 39-33 before Mark Morris made its comeback. The Hawks held a 43-41 lead with 14.2 seconds left before Mark Morris called a timeout to set up one final play. Thats when Breanna DuBois drove the lane as the clock wind down and scored the game-tying bucket with 2.2 seconds left.
Sluder hit two free throws with 26.1 seconds left to give the Monarchs a 47-46 lead, the Hawks had a chance for the game-winning bucket, but turned it over with 10.5 seconds left. And after Eaton hit two more free throw that made the Monarchs lead 49-46, the Hawks had one more shot at possibly second the game into a second overtime, but Jazzlynn Brewsters 3-pointer was off the mark shortly before time expired.
Rebecca Stevenson led all scorers with 17 points and Brewster had 10. Eaton finished with 15 points and Sluder had 11.
River Ridge was looking to play for its first state title since 2010 and the fifth state title game in school history.
The semifinal game was a rematch of the Feb. 12 District IV semifinal game when River Ridge had an 18-point second-half lead, only to see the top-ranked Monarchs fight back and eventually win, 60-48. Hawks coach Jackie Robinson said a turning point in his teams postseason was the Mark Morris game, in spite of the loss.