BASKETBALL: Hardwood Classic berths on the line Saturday for Beamer boys, girls

Beamer senior Bogdon Bliznyuk finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds during the Titans
Beamer senior Bogdon Bliznyuk finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds during the Titans' win over Kentridge in the West Central/Southwest District Championship Saturday in Pacific Lutheran University.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

Puyallup High School will be Todd Beamer South Saturday afternoon. Both the Titan boys and girls will be playing at Puyallup with coveted berths into the Class 4A Hardwood Classic inside the Tacoma Dome on the line.

The Beamer girls, who finished second at the West Central/Southwest District Tournament on Saturday to Mount Rainier, will take on the Arlington Eagles (19-4) at 1 p.m. and the Titan boys will play Bothell at 4 p.m. in Puyallup.

The Class 4A Hardwood Classic, which will include the best eight teams in the state, is slated for March 6-8.

The Beamer boys are coming off the program's first-ever West Central/Southwest District championship Saturday with an impressive 51-36 win over the previously-unbeaten Kentridge Chargers in the title game at Pacific Lutheran University.

The Titans dominated the fourth-ranked Chargers (24-1) during the district title game, especially in the first half. Beamer jumped out to an 11-4 lead after the first quarter and extended the lead to 27-10 at halftime.

The Chargers, who beat the Titans in the SPSL championship last week at the ShoWare Center, were never able to recover from the slow start. Beamer got huge games from seniors Trey Burch-Manning and Bogdon Bliznyuk.

The two first-team, All-SPSL South selections tallied 31 of the Titans' 51 points. Burch-Manning finished 7 for 8 from the field, scoring 14 points and also had three blocked shots. Bliznyuk, the SPSL South MVP, finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds during the win.

As a team, the Titans finished with only seven total turnovers against the Chargers, who have proved to be one of the best defensive teams in the area. Despite the lopsided victory, Beamer did just make seven of 17 free throws during the contest, which will need to be improved this weekend.

The Bothell Cougars come into Saturday's Regional contest with a season record of 16-9 and won the competitive KingCo League Crest Division championship with an 8-6 record. The Cougars lost their opening-round game of the KingCo Tournament to Roosevelt, 70-61, before winning their next four playoff games over Inglemoor, Eastlake, a rematch with Roosevelt and Edmonds-Woodway Saturday night. The victory 67-55 win over Edmonds-Woodway in a loser-out contest gave Bothell the Northwest District's third seed to Regionals.

The Cougars are led by 6-foot-9 Josh Martin, who is regarded as the best big man in the state. Martin has already inked a national letter of intent to play next season for Richard Pitino at the University of Minnesota. Martin is the only player on Bothell averaging in double figures at 27.2 points a game.

The two teams have only one common opponent this season — the Federal Way Eagles. Federal Way beat Bothell, 61-57, at the King Holiday Hoopfest Jan. 20. Martin tallied a season-low 10 points during the game after leaving with an ankle injury early in the second half. Beamer beat Federal Way two of three times this season.

On the girls' side, the matchup between Beamer and Arlington is a rematch of last year's Regional Tournament. The Eagles ended the Titans' season a year ago, 50-42, on the same Puyallup High School court they will be playing on Saturday.

Arlington comes into this year's matchup with a 19-4 record after losing to Lynnwood, 46-34, in the Northwest Regional championship game Friday night. The Eagles are led by senior Lyndsay Leatherman and sophomore Jayla Russ.

The 6-foot-1 Leatherman is averaging a team-best 13.0 points and has already signed with the University of Washington track and field team as a thrower. Russ, also a 6-footer, is averaging 11.6 points a game.

Beamer (24-2) just couldn't get started during Saturday's 61-41 loss to Mount Rainier in the West Central/Southwest District Championship at PLU and they couldn't stop the Rams' all-everything Brittany McPhee.

The Stanford-bound McPhee finished with 33 points and was unstoppable down the stretch, when Mount Rainier outscored Beamer, 24-11, during the fourth quarter. The Titans got 14 points from sophomore Nia Alexander, but she was the only Beamer player in double figures.

It was Beamer's second loss of the season to Mount Rainier and the fourth loss to the Rams in the last two years, all coming in the postseason. The Titans beat Mount Rainier, 64-59, on Dec. 27.

Class 4A Girls Regional Matchups

Bellarmine Prep vs. Lynnwood

Puyallup vs. Inglemoor

Arlington vs. Beamer

Edmonds-Woodway vs. Mount Rainier

Kentwood vs. Chiawana

Newport vs. Skyview

Kentridge vs. Moses Lake

Davis vs. Gonzaga Prep

Class 4A Boys Regional Matchups

Moses Lake vs. Richland

Stadium vs. Jackson

Arlington vs. Kentridge

Issaquah vs. Bellarmine Prep

Battle Ground vs. Garfield

Curtis vs. Wenatchee

South Kitsap vs. Gonzaga Prep

Bothell vs. Beamer

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