DES MOINES — On cue, Brittany McPhee showed up Wednesday morning at the Mount Rainier High School library holding two important items.
One was a Stanford sweatshirt. The three-time SPSL North girls basketball player of the year was signing her national letter of intent to play for the Cardinal.
The other was a cookie sheet of raspberry scones. Per school tradition, an athlete signing an NCAA Division I scholarship is strongly advised to bring in breakfast goodies before the ceremony can begin.
So the night before the biggest basketball moment of her life, McPhee and her father, Bryce, were baking.
“I helped,” she said with a big smile.
In the past three seasons, McPhee has helped out her school in a number of ways — primarily putting the Rams on the map of elite Northwest girls basketball programs.
“This has brought a lot of respect to our team and our program and our school,” Mount Rainier girls basketball coach Bob Bolam said. “It definitely hasn’t been me — I’ve just kind of gotten out of the way and let her play.”
The non-football early signing period kicked off Wednesday, so this was McPhee’s moment.
She arrived well before the
7 a.m. signing ceremony with swimmer Megan Kawaguchi, who is headed to Utah.
Also in attendance was McPhee’s family, including her parents and twin sister, Jordan. Bolam and his coaching staff also were there as McPhee sat down at a table and signed the required paperwork.
From the main office, McPhee faxed her letter of intent to Stanford at 7:31 a.m. That is when she officially became a Cardinal.
“Really excited, I guess,” McPhee said. “I slept well.”
Stanford was one of a number of universities to contact McPhee, a 6-foot guard/forward, in September 2012. It wasn’t until Cardinal assistant coach Kate Paye – who played professionally for the Seattle Reign and Storm – showed up at the Class 4A state tournament in March when things started to get serious.
“I’ve always wanted to go there since I saw them play when I was little,” McPhee said. “I didn’t know it was a reality until probably the state tournament until they were there watching me play.”
The Cardinal offered a scholarship in late June. After McPhee finished up summer basketball in July, she sat down to decide among Stanford, Gonzaga and Nebraska.
In August, she gave an oral commitment to play for the Pac-12 powerhouse.
McPhee joins power forward Kaylee Johnson (Natrona County High School in Wyoming) and wing/off guard Taylor Rooks (Gill St. Bernard’s School in New Jersey) in the Cardinal’s 2014 class.
“She is going to one of the two best programs in the nation,” Bolam said. “It will challenge her. That is a good thing.”
The decision does not come without some regret. McPhee knows this will be the final time she will play alongside her sister, Jordan, on a basketball squad. Jordan McPhee remains undecided on a college.
“That was probably the hardest part about my decision was deciding if I wanted to be with her or not,” Brittany McPhee said. “It will be hard after the season for it to be over.”
Four Lions yell ‘Fore’
Enough Bellarmine Prep golfers signed Wednesday to almost form their own co-ed college lineup.
Even with the school’s rich tradition, never before had four seniors signed college scholarships at the same time — until this year. Greg Gildea (University of Washington), Alivia Brown (Washington State), Lindsey Gullikson (UC Irvine) and Lisa Zelasko (Saint Martin’s) all found college programs for which to play.
“It is really cool because freshman year when we all came into this, we didn’t know this was going to happen,” Zelasko said.
Other than Brown choosing WSU last spring, the rest of the decisions were late-breaking developments.
Gildea had a monster summer, including a win at the San Diego Junior Masters and a tied-for-14th showing at the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships at Torrey Pines South Course.
After that, he got offers from Oregon, UCLA, Oregon State, WSU, San Diego, Arizona and Boise State. Then came a late offer from UW, which he took.
Only recently did Gullikson and Zelasko finish up their recruiting.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442
LIST OF LOCALS SIGNING IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
|Alivia Brown||Bellarmine Prep||Golf||Washington State|
|Sierra Carrington||Puyallup||Soccer||Boise State|
|Emma Chard||Foss||Swimming||Boise State|
|Molly Cichosz||Auburn Mountainview||Volleyball||Loyola-Maryland|
|Madison Clarkson||Auburn Mountainview||Soccer||Utah|
|Greg Gildea||Bellarmine Prep||Golf||Washington|
|Lindsey Gullikson||Bellarmine||Prep Golf||UC-Irvine|
|Joe Harvie||Orting||Golf||Seattle University|
|Hannah Holly||Curtis||Swimming||Fresno Pacific|
|Megan Kawaguchi||Mount Rainier||Swimming||Utah|
|Morgan Maida||Eatonville||Softball||Holy Family|
|Carolyn McCann||Gig Harbor||Swimming||Michigan|
|Tyler McDowell||Puyallup||Baseball||Washington State|
|Brittany McPhee||Mount Rainier||Basketball||Stanford|
|Ryan Mets||North Thurston||Baseball||Oregon State|
|Gordon Nelson||Bonney Lake||Lacrosse||Lindenwood|
|Quinn Rawson||Puyallup||Baseball||New Mexico|
|Courtney Schwan||Bellarmine||Prep Volleyball||Washington|
|Mitch Stewart||Federal Way||Tennis||Washington|
|Scott Sunitsch||Beamer||Baseball||Washington State|
|Alyssa Ubrun||Tumwater||Softball||Colorado State-Pueblo|
|Lexi White||Auburn Riverside||Volleyball||Missouri S&T|
|Brian Woodbury||Curtis||Swimming||Georgia Tech|
|Lisa Zelasko||Bellarmine Prep||Golf||Saint Martin's|
Todd Milles and Meg Wochnick, staff writers