It takes a lot to satisfy Tim Kelly.
But after what his sixth-ranked Curtis High boys basketball team has accomplished in the past eight days – South Puget Sound League South Divisional wins against Emerald Ridge, Puyallup, No. 5 Federal Way and Todd Beamer – he was relieved and proud.
The division title is in reach for the Vikings, who rallied from an early deficit to take down Beamer, 61-51, in University Place on Saturday.
Isom Brown led the Vikings with 15 points. Dominic Brown added 10, and Andre Lewis and Jayson Williams had eight apiece in the team’s balanced attack.
Bogdon Bliznyuk led Beamer with 15 points – 10 in the first 5 minutes, 10 seconds of the game.
With three games remaining, Curtis holds a two-game lead in the SPSL South.
“It was a tough four games. We were a little tired, but we did all the things we needed to do,” Kelly said. “We did things much better over that stretch … against good teams, and found ways to win all of them in different ways.”
Beamer led by as many as nine points in the first quarter. Slowly, the Vikings’ defensive pressure, which forced 17 turnovers, allowed them to get back into the game.
And midway through the third quarter, Curtis scored on six consecutive possessions – part of an 11-3 run – to grab a 38-34 lead with 2:28 to go.
At the same time, Beamer started settling for quick 3-pointers, allowing the Vikings to get out in transition.
“Curtis played championship basketball. They have been in those trenches before,” Titans coach Winston Bell said. “We are little Todd Beamer, man – we’ve still got some work to do.”
Yet, the Titans used scoring spurts in the fourth quarter to hang around – the last cutting it to 53-48 on two Quadir Williams’ free throws with 2:17 left.
Beamer had the Vikings locked up on the other end – until Lewis made the biggest play of the game.
With the shot clock down to 4 seconds, Lewis dribbled down the left side of the lane, but immediately faced a double team. The senior then spotted Williams cutting along the baseline, and threw him a dart of a pass.
Williams beat an oncoming defender, made a layup and was fouled. He converted the three-point play for a 56-48 Vikings’ advantage at the 1:42 mark.
“It was a basketball play … and I knew the clock was running down, and Dre’ was getting double-teamed,” Williams said. “But Isom’s man wasn’t on help side, so the baseline was wide open.”
On Beamer’s next trip, Jayson Williams stole the ball from Quadir Williams from behind, and Brown knocked down two free throws for the Vikings on the other end to put the game away.
“As the season progresses, and as we get into the postseason, you are going to play in close games,” Kelly said. “It is good we are learning to do this against good teams in our league.”
On Thursday, McDonald’s announced more than 800 players from 39 states and the District of Columbia in its annual list of high school seniors who have been nominated to play in the 2013 McDonald’s All American basketball games April 3 at the United Center in Chicago.
From the state of Washington, 28 boys basketball players were selected.
The final roster of 24 boys and 24 girls will be announced 2 p.m. (PST) on Feb. 14, during the McDonald’s All American Games Selection Show televised on ESPNU.
Local athletes who were nominated are: Marcus Chambers, Foss; Tre’Shaun Fletcher, Lincoln; Lucas Meikle, Bellarmine Prep; Shawn Spencer, Cascade Christian; Martel Taylor-Barone, Kent-Meridian; Dezmyn Trent, Foss; and Braxton Tucker, Spanaway Lake.
Tornados storm SK Invite: Yelm scored 261.5 points to take first place by a wide margin at the South Kitsap Invitational. Runner-up Mountain View (Vancouver) placed second with 165 points.
Yelm had five champions and two runners-up.
Shelton takes River Ridge tournament: With two individual champions and seven in the top four, Shelton compiled 158 points to earn the team title at the River Ridge Invitational in Lacey.
Forks, with one champ and five placers, totaled 134 for second place.
Angel Coria of Spanaway Lake, named one of three outstanding wrestlers in the tournament, claimed the 106-pound title with a pin of Black Hills’ Sebastian Morales.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org blogs.thenewstribue.com @ManyHatsMilles