Wilson forward Kapri Morrow admitted that when the Rams found themselves in a 14-point hole to Mercer Island in the second quarter, she was nervous — briefly.
"For a second, then I thought about it and realized we were okay," Morrow said.
Thanks to Morrow and Josie Matz, the Rams were OK — and on their way to the Tacoma Dome for the fifth consecutive year. Morrow and Matz combined for 45 points as Wilson rallied to top Mercer Island, 71-64, in overtime in a 3A regional girls basketball game Saturday night at Mount Tahoma.
"The back of our shooting shirts says ‘Love, Faith, Courage’ and we needed all of it from everyone tonight," Wilson coach Michelle Birge said. "We had to move as one throughout the night — and in the second half and overtime, we really did that."
Trailing by seven to start the fourth quarter, the Rams took the lead for the first time since the second quarter on a Kiara Knox layup with 42.8 seconds to go. The two teams traded the lead four times in the final 42.8 seconds. A free throw by the Islanders’ Jessica Blakeslee with 9.8 seconds to go in regulation tied the game at 57-all to send it to overtime.
A minute into the extra period, Blakeslee and Julia Blumenstein hit four consecutive free throws to give Mercer Island a 61-57 lead.
Morrow’s drive followed by an assist to Erica Hamlin tied it at 61-all. Josie Blakeslee’s free throw gave the Islanders their final lead at 62-61 with 1:57 remaining.
A pair of Hamlin free throws put the Rams back on top, and Wilson shot 8 of 9 from the free throw line in the closing minutes to seal a return trip to the state quarterfinals.
Matz led the Rams with 23 points with Morrow adding 22 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
"Kapri gave us the senior leadership that we really needed tonight. And Josie was clutch with the free throws for us," Birge said.
Matz shot 8 of 9 from the free throw line in overtime.
Jessica Blakeslee led all scorers with 26 points.
The Rams held 6-foot-2 post Anna Luce to six points, well below the 14 points per game she averaged this season.
Mercer Island opened the second quarter with a 20-3 run, giving the Islanders a 14-point lead with 3:38 to go in the first half, the largest lead for either team.
Leading by as many as 13 in the third quarter, the Red Devils’ lead was trimmed to two, 62-60, with 15 seconds to go.
Ryan Moss hit the first free throw but missed the second to put Neah Bay on top by three, but Seth Carns’ final 3-point attempt at the buzzer to tie the game was well off the mark.
Abraham Venske led the Red Devils (18-3) with 19 points. Carns paced the Eagles (18-4) with 19 points.
Kaela Tyler led the Red Devils (20-1) with 20 points. Hannah Pond paced the Pirates (11-9) with 18 points.
Evergreen Lutheran (18-8) never trailed in the game, advancing to the state quarterfinals. Romie Begay and Faith Thomas led the Elks (12-10) with 12 points apiece.
Crosspoint Academy (24-3) — winners of nineteen consecutive games — led Shoreline Christian (13-13) by 23 points, 32-9, at halftime.