Corey Alexander isn’t the excitable type. He has a calm, matter-of-fact way of conveying important messages to his Todd Beamer High School girls basketball team.
But he also doesn’t shy away from the truth. He recognizes that after capturing the SPSL South title a season ago, then returning this year to upend North powerhouse Mount Rainier earlier in a crossover game — a lot of eyes are now on the Titans.
And they are taking it all in stride.
Continuing their roughing-up-the-SPSL-North tour, the No. 3 Titans handled Kentwood, 53-40, in the early game of the King Showcase tournament Monday at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
Beamer (14-0, 10-0 SPSL South) started out making 11 of its first 19 field goals, survived a strong Conquerors push to start the second half, but seized control for good with a 12-0 run in a four-minute stretch.
“Our girls, for being so young, they are kind of mature as basketball players. They don’t panic,” Alexander said. “We’ve kind of set the stage for them, ‘Hey, we’ve got the target on our back now.’ They’ve kind of accepted it.”
Liesa Young’s putback of Quinessa Caylao-Do’s free throw capped the run to give the Titans a 41-25 lead with about three minutes remaining in the third.
Jalynn Piper led Beamer with 12 points. She highlighted the Titans’ early strong shooting by sinking half of the team’s four second-quarter 3-pointers as they bolted out to a 26-18 advantage with 51/2 minutes left in the first half.
Megan Huff, a 6-foot-3 senior, added a double-double (11 points, 13 rebounds). Caylao-Do also had 11 points. Jenny Johnson paced Kentwood (9-3, 7-2 SPSL North) with 12 points and nine rebounds.
“The way our team is, we have enough players offensively that if one person is off, someone else will be on,” Huff said. “We have good players everywhere. It makes it nice.”
Somebody didn’t tell the teams they were playing a 9 a.m. game. Both were sharp early. Johnson had half of her points in the first quarter, giving the Conquerors a 14-13 lead.
But Nia Alexander’s short jumper in the lane at the first-quarter buzzer gave the Titans the lead for good, 17-16.
“Got to give them credit they have a great, athletic team. And it is well-rounded; it’s not like it is just one or two people,” Kentwood coach Lisa Ashley said. “We did a nice job. There were a lot of good things we did — a lot of good ball movement, We are still coming together as a team.”
Getting Kate Kramer (knee) back earlier this month should give Kentwood a needed boost down the stretch of the SPSL season. She scored 10 points, and Sarah Toeaina added seven points, eight rebounds.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com