Ladies of the Todd Beamer girls basketball team are putting in work to maintain their undefeated league record this season.
The team consists of mainly juniors led by seven-year head basketball coach Corey Alexander, with assistant coaches Aletha Le, Jermaine Perrien and Dianne Alexander.
Todd Beamer’s girls basketball beat the Enumclaw High School Hornets on Tuesday night, winning 47-30 with a strong performance in the second half.
“That’s what this league needs, you know, teams stepping up and getting better,” Alexander said of last week’s Dec. 18 close game against Decatur, which the Titans won 48-45.
Beamer girls basketball has been a powerhouse for years with state appearances and a slew of league championships including their undefeated NPSL Olympic Division season last year, earning a spot in the regional round of the WIAA state tournament.
The season has been so far, so good, Alexander said.
“We’re winning the games we’re supposed to win,” he said about the Beamer girls’ records of 5-0 league and 5-3 overall.
Outside the NPSL, the Titans have lost to Woodinville, Garfield, and Gig Harbor — but won valuable knowledge on the court, Alexander said.
“To me, it’s not really a loss, it’s a learning experience,” he said. “The girls, after every loss, seem to get better the next game.”
Most games this season have been narrow wins.
“It’s been situations where we have to come together and run the plays,” he said, a different outcome than last year’s games where the Titans were often up by more than 20 points in the fourth quarter.
But the team, nor Alexander, is concerned about comparison.
“Taking it day by day,” he said. “I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on them because there already is a lot of pressure from the past history. Everybody wants to beat us … This year we’ve been having to grind it out and play the game. So seeing that my team can execute late in the game, it’s really inspiring.”
A few standouts on this year’s primarily-11th grader squad include junior point guard Aaliyah Alexander, junior post Halo Parks who was also a starter her sophomore year, sharpshooter junior guard Najahia Forks, and junior guard Sharay Trotter, a recent transfer from Curtis High School.
“Every team is going to bring their A-game, so we have to bring our A+,” Alexander said with a laugh.
It’s a fun, family-like atmosphere on the court, he said.
Especially for junior point guard Aaliyah Alexander.
Head coach Corey Alexander and assistant coach, Dianne, are Aaliyah’s parents.
“Every year she’s getting stronger,” Corey Alexander said about Aaliyah. Aaliyah’s older sister, Nia Alexander, played for Todd Beamer and graduated in 2016, going on to play for University of San Francisco. The girls’ mom, Dianne, played for the University of Washington and also overseas in Spain. “Aaliyah has been around basketball her entire life … it was in her blood. We never force our kids like ‘This is what you have to do,’ because if [they] don’t love it, I won’t either.”
“It’s been an awesome experience,” he said. “When we’re here, she knows I’m coach, but once we walk out those doors, I’m back to dad again and we don’t talk basketball unless she brings it up. But we try to separate the two so she can have a break.”
Although Aaliyah started off playing soccer in an attempt to differ from her big sister’s footsteps, she soon couldn’t deny her love for the game.
Aaliyah, 17, is the top scorer for the Titans this season averaging 15.6 points per game.
“It was natural for me to play basketball,” she said. She traded in her soccer cleats for the basketball court in third grade, although still plays volleyball for Beamer.
In the back of her mind, she always remembers: offense wins games, but defense wins championships, she said. On the court, Aaliyah is a strong and explosive player with quick feet and a fierce spirit.
“I just like how it’s a team sport. You’re relying on your teammates, you’re pushing your teammates, your teammates are relying on you,” she said. “It’s just a competitive sport. It’s rough, it’s aggressive, it’s a contact sport.”