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BOYS BASKETBALL: TJ and Beamer clinch berths into the Regional Tournament; Fifth-ranked Federal Way done
The Thomas Jefferson Raiders like doing things the hard way.
After losing their opening-round West Central/Southwest District game to the Stadium Tigers Wednesday night, the Raiders (15-10) were forced into a pair of loser-out contests Friday and Saturday.
But, like they have done all season long, TJ rallied to clinch the program's first-ever trip to the Class 4A Regional Tournament. The Raiders knocked off Battle Ground Friday night, 62-50, and clinched the regional berth with a 66-58 win over Tahoma Saturday. The win over Tahoma, the South Puget Sound League North Division regular season champs, was Jefferson's third victory over the Bears this season.
The Raiders will be the seventh seed into the 16-team Regional Tournament after losing for the third time this season to the Auburn Trojans Monday, 70-69. Jefferson will take on the Curtis Vikings at 6 p.m. at Puyallup High School on Saturday. The fifth-ranked Vikings won the West Central/Southwest District Tournament title.
Jefferson, who were playing in their first district tournament since 1985, dominated Battle Ground Friday at Auburn Mountainview after a sluggish first quarter. The Tigers jumped out to a 16-10 lead after the first eight minutes, but TJ outscored the Greater St. Helen's League team, 52-34, the rest of the game.
Senior guard Daryon James led the way with 22 points and Josh Duckworth pitched in 11 points for the Raiders. James also finished with a career-high 31 points during Monday's loss to Auburn. Junior Deonte Anderson scored 20 against the Trojans.
The Raiders will be joined at regionals by the Todd Beamer Titans, who advanced into the semifinals of the district tournament before losing two straight.
Beamer (17-7) will be the fourth seed into the regionals after losing a heart-breaker to Bellarmine Prep in the semifinals, 59-58, and lost to Bethel Monday in the third-fourth game, 70-64, Monday.
The Titans will take on Spokane's Central Valley at 4 p.m. at Rogers High School on Saturday. Central Valley (21-2) won the Greater Spokane League title before losing to Richland, 66-54, at districts.
Beamer seemed to have a spot in the West Central/Southwest District championship game Saturday night. The Titans were leading Bellarmine Prep in the semifinals, 58-56, before Isaiah Flynn buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Lions a one-point win. The heave led to the Lions' fans storming the court at Auburn High School.
Bellarmine had a chance at the last-second heroics after Beamer missed a pair of free throws. After Bellarmine's Lucas Meikle grabbed the rebound, he flung a pass to Flynn, who hit the game-winner, sending the Lions to the district championship game.
The shot ended an impressive comeback by Beamer. The Titans trailed by eight points with five minutes left in the game. Beamer was led by 17 points from Quaidir Williams. Trey Burch-Manning finished with 14 and Juwan Flowers chipped in 13.
Despite the loss, the Titans did guarantee themselves a spot at regionals with a 73-55 win over the Tahoma Bears Friday night.
Beamer dominated the SPSL North champions at Mount Tahoma. The Titans led 31-23 at half and 51-35 after the third quarter.
Bogdon Blizenyuk led the way for Beamer with 19 points, Burch-Manning finished with 17 and Flowers chipped in 13.
The Titans were never really in Monday's game against Bethel at Auburn, losing 70-64. Bethel, the fourth-place team from the SPSL South, led 41-33 at halftime and 55-43 after three. Beamer was led by 23 points from Blizenyuk and 11 from Burch-Manning.
Despite being the fifth-ranked Class 4A team in the state entering the district tournament, the Eagles (19-5) will be watching regionals and state from the bleachers.
The Eagles' season ended Saturday with a 60-59 loss to the Auburn Trojans at Mount Tahoma High School. It was Federal Way's second loss in as many nights.
The Eagles were dropped into the loser's bracket of the West Central/Southwest District Tournament Friday with a 48-46 loss to Bellarmine Prep at Mount Tahoma in the quarterfinals.
Against the Lions, the Eagles couldn't get much going on the offensive end of the court, scoring just 21 points in the second half. The Lions got 13 points from Gonzaga-signee Lucas Meikle and 10 from Colorado-bound quarterback Sefo Liufau.
Federal Way was led by 16 points each from sophomore Malik Montoya and junior Brayon Blake.
Federal Way led 25-24 at halftime, but the Lions outscored the Eagles, 14-6, during the third quarter to take control.