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GAME OF THE WEEK: Beamer, Eagle boys fighting for SPSL South supremacy
The Todd Beamer boys basketball team will attempt to do something they have never done on Friday (Jan. 6) — beat Federal Way.
The two teams are in a tie atop the South Puget Sound League South Division at 6-1 in league play. Beamer blew out Rogers Tuesday night, 70-49, and Federal Way slugged its way past Graham-Kapowsin, 48-33.
The winner of tonight’s game, which is slated for 7 p.m. at Federal Way High School, will go a long way to determining the winner of the SPSL South. Both teams suffered their only league losses to Curtis, which is 5-2 in SPSL South play.
Since entering the South Puget Sound League in 2003 as the fourth high school in the Federal Way school district, the Titans have been beaten up by the Eagles. In actuality, Beamer hasn’t even come close against Federal Way.
The Eagles are a perfect 9-0 against the Titans since the 2003-04 season. But the domination goes further than just an unbeaten record. Federal Way has dominated Beamer.
“Obviously, we are going to try and win any way we can,” said Beamer head coach Winston Bell. “What I enjoy in this short of time is that we are playing in a big game.”
During the schools’ nine meetings, the Eagles have outscored the Titans, 725-409, for an average victory of 81-45. Federal Way even welcomed Beamer to the SPSL with a 77-point win (111-34) in their first meeting ever.
The closest Beamer has come during that stretch was a 64-51 loss during the 2007-08 postseason. The loss ended the Titans’ year at the West Central District Tournament. It was Beamer’s first-ever playoff appearance.
“I’m just trying to get our kids to believe,” Bell said. “They’ve all watched Federal Way since they were in middle and elementary school and they were scared of them. I’m getting them to believe they can compete with anybody in the state.”
The Federal Way boys basketball program has been the model of consistency, which hasn’t been the case over at Beamer. Eagles head coach Jerome Collins has been at the helm for 27 years. During his tenure, Federal Way has produced a pair of NBA players (Michael Dickerson and Donny Marshall) and numerous Division-I athletes. The Eagles have also played in a pair of state title games, winning in 2009.
Beamer, on the other hand, has featured four different head coaches in the school’s nine-year history and made its first, and only, state tournament appearance in 2009.
“I know Federal Way is always talented,” Bell said. “That’s the biggest thing. I know they press and run all day and always have scorers at all positions.”
But this year’s Federal Way team is a little different than Collins’ recent squads, which have played in five of the last six state tournaments. The Eagles are extremely young, featuring a roster with only one senior, Tanner Post.
Federal Way has been led all season by a pair of sophomores, Brayon Blake and DeeShawn Tucker. Blake, a 6-foot-5 transfer from Cleveland High School, is averaging 15.6 points and 10 rebounds a game. Tucker, a point guard, is scoring 14.1 points.
Beamer is also a fairly young and inexperienced squad. Head coach Winston Bell has only four seniors on his roster, led by 6-foot-2 wing Thomas Rhodes.
Rhodes leads four players averaging in double figures this season at 16.3 points a game. He is also leading Beamer in rebounding and blocked shots. Last year, as a junior, Rhodes averaged 18.1 points and 12 rebounds a game.
“He has been a man-child,” Bell said. “He has such a great motor and he sets everything up for us.”
Junior Juwan Flowers has also been a key to the Titans’ early-season success. The 5-foot-11 guard is averaging 15.0 points and has been in double figures in nine of Beamer’s 10 games, including 31 points during an overtime win over Jefferson in his first game. Sophomore Luscious Brown is chipping in 10 points a game.
Beamer has also gotten a kickstart from senior Roosevelt Jones, who transferred from Federal Way. Jones, a guard, has played in the Titans’ last three games and is averaging 18.7 points and had at least four 3-pointers in each one of those.