RAINIER — In a rescheduled battle between two top-10 squads in separate classifications, the 2B No. 10 Rainier girls basketball team held on late in a defensive battle against 1B No. 3 Mossyrock, 45-43.
The Mountaineers (13-4, 6-2 C2BL) held on to a five-point lead with about a minute to go, but turned it over to give the Vikings a layup, and some life. Another empty Rainier possession gave Mossy a chance to tie it, but the Vikings were held scoreless for three straight possessions after offensive rebounds went the visiting team’s way.
Rainier’s defense stiffened however, and when all the dust cleared, the Mountaineers walked away winners in their final non-league game, rescheduled from several weeks ago.
“It was a huge win tonight,” Mountaineers coach Brandon Eygabroad said. “I’m super proud of how we responded after coming out slow. We fought back, we battled, we proved to ourselves that we can turn it on anytime. It’s going to be valuable looking back at this game come playoff time.”
The Vikings got out to the early lead, building up a six-point lead at halftime and holding the Mountaineers to single digit scoring in the first two quarters. But a 33-point second half saw the Mountaineers pull ahead and take the late season victory Saturday night at home.
Rainier was led in scoring by two freshmen: Brooklynn Swenson and Bryn Beckman each scored 15 points in the win. Payton Torrey (18 points) and Caelyn Marshall (14 points) led the Vikings in scoring.
Eygabroad commended the play of senior Selena Niemi, who scored just three points but had the tall task of keeping Torrey at bay for most of the night.
“Selena did a good job on Torrey,” he said. “Did a good job staying with her and pressuring her and slowing her down.”
The Mountaineers are next in action for senior night against Kalama on Monday, while Mossyrock takes on Columbia Adventist on Tuesday.