With a victory comfortably in hand late in the fourth quarter Tuesday night, Todd Beamer girls basketball coach Corey Alexander called a timeout because he saw something he didn’t like out on the floor.
Even in a blowout, the first-year head coach wanted to keep the focus on paying attention to detail.
And that methodology has worked wonders for Alexander and his team this season, as the 10th-ranked Titans wrapped up the 4A SPSL South division title with a 62-45 win on the road at No. 4 Puyallup, sweeping the season series.
“If you’re playing sloppy and things are going bad, I have to correct it now because we’re trying to go further,” said Alexander, who spent the previous two years as an assistant coach at Auburn Riverside before taking the top job with the Titans. “If I don’t correct it now, they’ll do it in a big game where it’s really going to cost us.”
While his team’s focus may have wandered late in a game that got out of hand, it was laser sharp in the second quarter, when Todd Beamer (16-3, 14-1 SPSL South) put the hammer down defensively on Puyallup (17-2, 13-2). Tied at 12 after the first quarter, the Titans held the Vikings without a field goal in the second quarter until guard McKayla Mattes hit a 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining in the half. Beamer forced nine turnovers and outscored the Vikings 16-4 in the second quarter to take a commanding lead into halftime.
“Defense is really hard for us, so it’s good to see that we were talking and we were able to get some stops,” said freshman guard Bria Rice, who poured in a season-high 20 points to lead the Titans.
Beamer’s offense was also hitting on all cylinders, as senior post Megan Huff was nearly unstoppable down low, scoring 14 points in the first half.
“I just felt like I had to go hard in the paint,” said Huff, who finished with 18 points.
The Titans continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter, stretching the lead to 20 points after Rice converted on a 3-point play with about six minutes remaining.
“We have a lot of different threats,” Alexander said. “If you double Huff, we’ve got shooters. If you play them too close, we’ve got people that can drive by you.”
Quinessa Caylao-Do added 13 points, and freshman Nina Alexander chipped in nine for Beamer, which will get a chance to avenge its only league loss of the season when it takes on Federal Way on Friday.
Marissa Miller was the only player to score in double figures for the Vikings, finishing with 13 points.