Mark Morris nips River Ridge in heartbreaker

mwochnick@theolympian.comMarch 2, 2013 

YAKIMA — Mark Morris forced overtime with a game-tying basket, then Raimee Sluder and Kourtney Eaton combined to make four free throws in the final 28 seconds of the extra period to lift the Monarchs to a 49-46 win over River Ridge in the Class 2A girls state semifinals Friday night at the Yakima SunDome.

The win sends the top-ranked Monarchs (24-2) to today’s 7 p.m. title game against 2A Evergreen Conference champion W.F. West, which defeated Renton, 44-25, in the other semifinal. 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 1 p.m. today in the third/fifth-place game. The two teams played during the regular season, with Renton defeating the Hawks, 53-42.

River Ridge (20-6) led by as many as six points in the second half 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. That’s when Breanna DuBois

drove the lane and scored on a game-tying layup with 2.2 seconds to go to force overtime.

Sluder made two free throws with 26.1 seconds left in OT to give the Monarchs a 47-46 lead. The Hawks had a chance for the game-winning basket, but turned the ball over with 10.5 seconds left. Eaton hit two more free throws that put the Monarchs ahead by three. The Hawks had one more shot at sending the game into a second overtime, but Jazzlynn Brewster’s 3-pointer was off the mark shortly before time expired.

River Ridge’s Rebecca Stevenson led all scorers with 17 points and Brewster had 10.

Eaton finished with 15 points and Sluder added 11 for the Monarchs.

The Hawks were looking to play for their first state title since 2010 and in their fifth state title game in school history.

The semifinal was a rematch of the Feb. 12 District IV semifinals, when River Ridge had an 18-point second-half lead, only to see the Monarchs fight back and win, 60-48. Hawks coach Jackie Robinson said a turning point in his team’s postseason was the first game against Mark Morris, despite the loss.

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