Mountaineers overcame sluggish start, top Bears to stay unbeaten


RAINIER — Just before the midway point of the second quarter on Saturday, the Rainier Mountaineers were a team without answers.

After taking an early lead, the Mountaineers allowed 15 straight points to the Brewster Bears and trailed by 12 with five minutes to play until halftime.

Just as suddenly as Rainier fell behind, they regained control, however, scoring 16 straight points of their own to end the half, regaining the lead and the momentum en route to a 48-42 win to stay undefeated.

“We started doing the little things,” Rainier coach Brandon Eygabroad said. “We just locked down on the defensive side, and then we were allowed to play our game.”

Angelica Askey began the rally with two quick buckets, and later capped it with a 3-pointer just before the break. Rainier (9-0, 4-0 C2BL) and Askey’s momentum carried over into the third quarter, as Askey scored the first nine points of that frame to push Rainier’s run to 25-0.

By the time the Bears finally got back on the board with a free throw, they had gone more than 10 minutes of game time without scoring and a 12-point lead had flipped to a 13-point deficit.

Askey only scored four more points from that point on, but the damage was done. She finished with a game-high 28 points on 13 of 28 shooting from the field.

“When she’s locked in and ready to go, it definitely relieves some pressure on the team,” Eygabroad said. “We don’t necessarily want to rely on her, but it’s huge to have a player be able to step up and hit some big shots down the stretch.”

Bryn Beckman added 10 points, including three 3-pointers, and led the team with nine rebounds, while Brooklynn Swenson logged seven assists and four steals.

The Mountaineers have now won nine games in a row to open the season, and while they have their sights set on larger goals, Eygabroad was pleased that they completed the sweep against two east-side schools. On Friday, the Mountaineers took control in the second half of their win against Mabton.

“Any time you can come in during Christmas break and remain focused, locked in, play some competitive teams, and have something on the line, it goes a long way to where we want to end up at the end of the season,” Eygabroad said.

The Mountaineers are now off until after the New Year, as they’ll head to Mountain View on Jan. 2.