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Rothfus leads St. Mary's into state semifinals

Dakotah Rothfus had one of her finest games of the season, helping St. Mary’s down Rainier 44-30 in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A girls basketball state tournament at Marshfield High in Coos Bay Thursday.

Now, she and the Crusaders face a familiar foe in the semifinals today as they try and forge a berth in the championship game. St. Mary’s faces Salem Academy, a 44-27 quarterfinal winner over Amity Thursday, at noon today at Marshfield High.

The Crusaders defeated Salem Academy in the first round last year to qualify for the eight-team tournament, where they proceeded to go two and out.

Against Rainier, eighth-seeded St. Mary’s (16-10) leaned on a stout defense and its senior leaders to construct an early lead.

Rothfus scored 17 points, and Rose Alvarez and Viv Juncal added 11 apiece, giving the three seniors all but five of the points for the Southern Cascade League co-champion.

“They just controlled the game and kept us calm,” said St. Mary’s coach Richard Vasey. “Every time Rainier did something, one of those three kids would answer.”

Rothfus, a 5-foot-7 post — “She might very well be the shortest post player in the entire state,” said Vasey — scored seven points in the second quarter and six in the third.

She hadn’t led the team in scoring since about the fifth or sixth game, said the coach.

“She had been a little frustrated lately,” he said. “She just really worked for her shots and was really patient on offense.”

Rainier, the third-place team from the Lewis & Clark League, ran a triangle-and-two defense in the hope of neutralizing Alvarez and Juncal, and Rothfus “took advantage,” said Vasey.

She was 7 of 14 from the field and 3 of 4 on foul shots.

Juncal had five rebounds, three assists and four steals, and Alvarez had four rebounds and five steals.

Rainier, the No. 16 seed, had 31 turnovers to the Crusaders’ 12.

St. Mary’s held the Columbians (17-10) to two first-quarter points and nine in the second quarter, taking a 29-11 lead at the intermission.

“We played great defense,” said Vasey.

St. Mary’s largest lead was 35-14 midway through the third quarter.

Next up is Salem Academy, a 44-27 victor over Amity. Salem Academy (23-3) is seeded fourth and won the PacWest Conference.

St. Mary’s posted a 53-48 overtime win over Salem Academy in last year’s playoffs.

“They’ll be gunning for us,” said Vasey, adding that Salem Academy, who are also the Crusaders, returns all its key players from last year. “We’re very familiar with them. They’re really deep and have a good combination of tough guards and really long post players.”

“For our girls, it’s good,” he said. “They’re comfortable. At least we know what we’re getting ourselves into.”

ST. MARY'S 44, RAINIER 30

RAINIER (17-10)

Shelby Saylors 3-4 0-0 6; Desirae Hansen 2-9 0-0 5; Julia Taylor 2-5 0-0 4; Haley Schimmel 1-3 1-2 4; Aspen Norman 0-3 3-4 3; Brandy Thurston 1-5 0-0 2; Laken Garman 1-3 0-0 2; Jessica Gibson 0-2 2-4 2; Jadyn Crape 1-3 0-0 2; Ashley Bush 0-0 0-0 0; Dominique Pedersen 0-0 0-0 0; Monica Guisinger 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 11-38 6-10 30.

ST. MARY'S (16-10)

Dakotah Rothfus 7-14 3-4 17; Rose Alvarez 4-13 1-2 11; Viv Juncal 3-10 5-6 11; Meg Vasey 0-8 2-4 2; Ellie Hough 0-1 2-2 2; Sabrina Miller 0-2 1-4 1; Tara Clement 0-0 0-0 0; Adrien Birmingham 0-5 0-0 0; Melissa Lara 0-0 0-0 0; Emelia Austin 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 14-53 14-23 44.

Rainier;2;9;8;11; —30

St. Mary's;12;17;10;5; —;44

3-point goals—Rainier 2-8 (Haley Schimmel 1-3; Desirae Hansen 1-3; Julia Taylor 0-2), St. Mary's 2-16 (Rose Alvarez 2-6; Viv Juncal 0-2; Meg Vasey 0-4; Adrien Birmingham 0-3; Dakotah Rothfus 0-1). Fouled out—Rainier-Haley Schimmel; Desirae Hansen, St. Mary's-None. Rebounds—Rainier 42 (Desirae Hansen 9), St. Mary's 31 (Viv Juncal 5; Sabrina Miller 5). Assists—Rainier 10 (Laken Garman 2; Ashley Bush 2), St. Mary's 8 (Meg Vasey 3; Viv Juncal 3). Total fouls—Rainier 21, St. Mary's 10. Technical fouls—Rainier-None, St. Mary's-None.

Moda Health Players of the Game: Desirae Hansen, Rainier; Dakotah Rothfus, St. Mary's.