Stepping to the line with the game tied at 56 and a little more than one second remaining, Lakeside High guard Tramaine Isabell had a chance to wrap up the Class 3A boys state basketball title for the Lions.
But the first free throw of his one-and-one chace clanked off the rim, sending the game into overtime and handing Rainier Beach new life.
Given a second chance, the veteran Vikings took advantage by rallying for a 62-59 victory and their second consecutive 3A state title on Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.
“Sometime it’s good to have some luck,” said Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea, who captured his sixth state title with the school. “We had a little bit of luck to help us win this one here. The kids always thought it was meant to be so I guess they were right.”
The fourth matchup of the season between the two Metro League foes featured eight lead changes. After Lakeside took a 59-58 lead with 1:25 to go in overtime, Beach guard Will Dorsey pulled a sweet crossover on his defender and scored on a layup in traffic to put the Vikings ahead, 60-59. After Lakeside turned the ball over on its ensuing possession, Niam Ladd hit two free throws to pad the lead. Isabell had a chance to tie the game in the final five seconds, but his off-balance 3-pointer fell short.
“When we went into overtime, I saw that look in their eye — they were not to be denied,” Bethea said of his team.
Elijah Foster led the way for Rainier Beach (25-4) with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Dorsey added 15 points and Djuan Piper had 10. Louisville recruit Shaqquan Aaron, who was slowed the entire tournament with a groin injury, had nine points on 3-of-9 shooting.
“We just had to fight through it,” Aaron said. “We’re tired. I’m injured, and I had to fight through it these last few games. I wasn’t going to let my team down. It was a team effort — it wasn’t about me scoring. I just wanted to win a championship. That’s all that mattered.”
Lakeside (24-5), a team that scored 86 points in a semifinal win over Lincoln, shot 35 percent against Rainier Beach, including 8-of-27 accuracy from 3-point range (30 percent). Isabell finished with 21 points, and guard Matthew Poplawski added 10. Poplawski, who torched Lincoln for 23 points, also missed a costly free throw on the front end of a one-and-one with 14 seconds left regulation and the score tied at 56.
“No question about it, without a doubt (it’s) the hardest fought (championship) I’ve ever had,” Bethea said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. Maybe tomorrow it will start to sink in, but wow. It’s more important that (it’s) for the team — that’s what it’s all about.”