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BASKETBALL: Fourth-ranked Beamer finally topples No. 2 Mount Rainier, 64-59
Revenge was pretty sweet for the Todd Beamer High School girls basketball team. The fourth-ranked Titans snuck by the Mount Rainier Rams Friday night in a matchup of the two heavyweights in the South Puget Sound League, 64-59.
The Rams, who entered the game as the second-ranked team in the state, had a strangle-hold on SPSL supremacy, as well as the Titans last season. Mount Rainier beat Beamer a grand total of three times a season ago, including wins in the SPSL and West Central District championship games.
But this time around, the unbeaten Titans (6-0) were able to close out the talented Rams, despite a game effort from Mount Rainier.
The Rams (6-2) twice overcame 10-point deficits, but didn't have enough in the end to complete the comeback. Titans sophomore Nia Alexander sank a pair of game-clinching free throws with six seconds left to seal the five-point victory.
Beamer jumped out to an early 10-point lead during the first quarter, 14-4, and seemed to be ready to cruise to a victory. But Mount Rainier battled back cut the Beamer lead to just four points at halftime, 30-26. The Titans then extended the lead to 61-51 with just over two minutes left to play in the game on a layup by Alexander.
But the battle-tested Rams went on an 8-1 run to cut the Beamer lead to just two, 61-59, with just 30 seconds remaining in the game. The big play came when Ta'lea Culp stole a Mount Rainier inbounds pass before being fouled. Culp connected on one of two free throws to extend the lead to three points. Beamer added two more points to finalize the five-point win.
Alexander led the way for the Titans with 17 points and seven rebounds. Beamer's only senior starter, 6-foot-3 Megan Huff, finished with 16 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots and sophomore Bria Rice added 16 points. Huff has already signed her national letter of intent to play volleyball at the University of Hawaii.
Mount Rainier was led by Stanford-bound senior and state player of the year Brittany McPhee, who finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
The Titans jump back into SPSL South action Friday when they host Graham-Kapowsin. Beamer is attempting to win its second-straight SPSL South title and are currently 4-0 in league play.
Jefferson — The Raiders (2-6 overall) lost a pair of games Friday and Saturday at the Jefferson Holiday Tournament to Mount Tahoma and Hazen. The four-team tournament was played at TJ.
On Friday, the Raiders lost to Mount Tahoma, 85-61. The Thunderbirds outscored TJ in the second half, 48-29, to pull away after a competitive first half. Jefferson was led by 15 points from Darius Anderson, 12 from Pekedy Ren and 11 from Brandon Madsen.
The Raiders were beaten up by Hazen Saturday, 80-50. Will Osborn led the way with 11 points and Alex Sommerfield chipped in 10 for TJ.
Decatur — The Gators (2-5 overall) dropped both of their games at the Bill Riley Communities Family Holiday Classic at Decatur. The Gators lost to Lakes on Saturday, 55-42, and lost to Emerald Ridge Friday, 44-34.
Carsten Olufson led the way in both games for Decatur. Olufson finished with 13 against Lakes and had 11 against Emerald Ridge. Stadium High School ended up winning the four-team tournament with a 43-40 victory over Emerald Ridge Saturday.