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Originally published February 11, 2014 at 9:48 PM | Page modified February 11, 2014 at 10:21 PM

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Bellevue, Mercer Island to play for KingCo 3A girls basketball title

Seattle Times staff reporter

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BELLEVUE — The first two times Bellevue faced Juanita, the Wolverines were rattled when they fell behind.

On Tuesday, Bellevue was prepared.

The No. 9 Wolverines overcame an 11-point deficit to beat No. 5 Juanita 56-48 in the semifinals of the KingCo 3A tournament at Bellevue College. The win gives Bellevue a first-round bye in next week’s district tournament and it will play Mercer Island on Thursday for the league title.

“This is a game where we were focusing on, we knew that there were going to be a lot of ups and downs,” Bellevue coach Leah Krautter said. “We just told the girls to stay confident, take it one possession at a time, and they wanted to fight for it.”

The tide turned on Tuesday when Juanita’s Tea Adams, the league’s leading scorer, was forced to leave the game in the third quarter with an apparent right shoulder injury. The freshman had scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the quarter.

The Wolverines (17-5) went on a 13-3 run after Adams left, taking a 44-43 lead with 4:37 remaining. From there, the Bellevue defense did the rest, as Juanita (19-2) missed five of its last seven shots.

More KingCo 3A @Bellevue College

Mercer Island 38, Liberty 27: Mercer Island shook off a slow start to pull away with a 38-27 win over Liberty (15-7) in the other semifinal game.

Mercer Island (15-7) couldn’t find an offensive rhythm in the first half, trailing 14-4 late in the second quarter. After closing the half on a 6-0 run, Mercer Island picked up where it left off and scored 13 straight points shortly after intermission to put the game out of reach.

Jessica Blakeslee led a balanced scoring effort for M.I. with 10 points. Sierra Carlson and Ashlan Applegate had eight points apiece for Liberty.

SPSL 4A tournament @ShoWare Center (Kent)

Mount Rainier 70, Beamer 58 (championship): Brittany McPhee made sure there were no more unbeaten teams in Class 4A, scoring 10 of her 32 points in the final four minutes of the SPSL championship game as the sixth-ranked Rams avenged an earlier loss to the No. 3 Titans, who were 20-0 coming in. Beamer had won 64-59 in late December.

Mount Rainier (18-3) used a 20-6 second quarter to open up a 12-point lead, but the Titans stormed back and went up 52-51 early in the fourth before losing guard Quinessa Caylao-Do to an ankle injury. She had nine points in the first half. Megan Huff (24) and Nia Alexander (17) topped the Beamer scoring.

Kentwood 57, Puyallup 46: Sarah Toeaina scored eight of her game-high 16 points in the final quarter to help the Conquerors (16-5) win the battle between the second-place finishers in the North and South divisions. Puyallup (16-6) trimmed a 15-point deficit to three midway through the third period and was within six with 50 seconds to play, but KWsealed the win at the free-throw line.

Scores from other sites: Kent­ridge 62, Curtis 41; Auburn Riverside 41, Bethel 35; Tahoma 53, Emerald Ridge 45.

Times reporter Sandy Ringer contributed to this report.

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