Sports

Basketball: Beamer boys pull out miracle 56-55 win over Mount Tahoma in loser-out district game

The Todd Beamer Titans were staring the end of their 2009-10 season right in the face Tuesday night at Auburn High School.

But the Titans (17-7) pulled out a miracle 56-55 victory over the Mount Tahoma Thunderbirds in a loser-out West Central District game, thanks, in large part, to the efforts of the 6-foot-2, rarely-used Thomas Rhodes.

Rhodes, a sophomore, made the two biggest plays of his basketball career during the final 5.6 seconds to push the Titans to an unbelievable, one-point win over Mount Tahoma.

"It was pretty interesting," said Beamer coach Brent Brilhante. "Everything happened so fast in the end that it was kind of a blur."

The first of those plays came with the Thunderbirds leading 55-52. Rhodes put back a missed 3-point attempt from Napa Mefi to cut the Mount Tahoma lead to one, 55-54.

Things got even wilder after that.

Rhodes then stole the inbounds pass and threw a dime inside to Kevin Davis, who scored the go-ahead basket with just three-tenths of a second on the clock. Davis was fouled on the play and intentionally missed the free throw, which ran the clock out.

Theoretically, Mount Tahoma (13-11) didn't need to throw the inbounds pass following the Rhodes putback. In high school basketball, the game clock doesn't stop after a made basket and Beamer was out of time outs. The Thunderbirds could have let the final seconds run off the clock without doing a thing and walked away with the victory.

Beamer now plays in a winner-to-state, loser-out game Friday against the Kentwood Conquerors. It's a situation that won't be foreign to either team. Last year, the Titans lost their opening-round game at the West Central District Tournament before winning three straight to earn the school's first-ever state berth. The Conquerors, on the other hand, have lost a pair of loser-out, winner-to-state games the last two seasons at district.

"We have the talent to do it," Brilhante said. "Our basketball IQ just need to get higher."

Friday's game will be a matchup between two of the best big men in the state in Davis and Kentwood's Josh Smith. The 6-foot-10 Smith, a McDonald's All-American who is headed to UCLA next fall, finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds during the Conquerors win over Kentridge Tuesday night.

Davis, the SPSL South Most Valuable Player after averaging 22 points and 15 rebounds a game, ended up with 17 points and 10 rebounds against Mount Tahoma.

"It's a matchup that deep down inside Kevin wants to play in," Brilhante said. "He wants to play a real game against Josh. It should be fun for the people to watch."s

Tuesday's game against the Thunderbirds was a game of runs for both teams. It looked like it was going to get out of hand early when Mount Tahoma jumped out to a 10-0 lead. The Titans didn't make a shot for the first five minutes of the first quarter.

But Beamer responded with a 12-2 run to tie the game and continued to pour it on during the second quarter to take a 33-23 lead early in the second half. The Thunderbirds then went on a 17-0 run to go up by seven late in the third quarter.

Mefi led the Titans during the final eight minutes. The junior guard tallied 11 of his season-high 30 points during the fourth quarter. Mefi and Davis combined to score 47 of Beamer's 55 points.

The Titans played without starting point guard Vladi Aficiuc, who wasn't at the game because of flu-like symptoms.

West Central District Boys Basketball Tournament

All games Friday

at ShoWare Center

Decatur vs. Wilson, 5 p.m. (third-sixth to state)

Lincoln vs. Federal Way, 8 p.m. (first-second)

at Foss High School

Gig Harbor vs. Auburn, 6 p.m. (winner fifth, loser out)

Beamer vs. Kentwood, 8 p.m. (winner fourth, loser out)

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