West Central District opponents are going to have a tough time preparing for a matchup with No.4-ranked Kentridge.
Do they focus on stopping senior guard Jawan Stepney, who has had a 40-point game this season?
Or do they prepare for the Kentridge team game, which was on display Tuesday night in the South Puget Sound League’s 4A Championship Game at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
Kentridge had six players score in double figures, helping the Chargers pull away late for a 69-58 victory over SPSL South champion Todd Beamer.
Kentridge (21-0) will open the WCD tournament at home, hosting the third seed from the Greater St. Helens League on Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Chargers’ top six players – all seniors – are going to be feeling pretty good after they all got into the act against Beamer.
Stepney scored seven quick points in the first quarter, but Beamer was able to slow down his production from there. He finished with 13 points.
“They’re not going to keep letting him score 40,” said point
guard Keasean Kelly. “They key on Jawan, and the rest of us teammates step up, share the ball, and make sure we finish.”
Kelly scored 12 points, Hussayn Ford also had 12, Christoph Adams and Danny Torlai each had 11, and Joe Wainhouse added 10.
Even with the balanced attack, Kentridge was in a battle that was tougher than the final score indicates.
Beamer overcame a 49-39 deficit late in the third quarter, scoring 11 straight points and taking the lead on an inside score from senior Bogdon Bliznyuk.
The 11-0 scoring run was a result of the Titans’ full-court press, which forced four straight Kentridge turnovers. Once the Chargers figured out the press, they regained control of the game.
“We quit throwing it to them,” said Kentridge coach Dave Jamison. “If we stay in our pattern, and do the things we work on in practice, we’re pretty good at it. They made that run at us, and we responded and I’m happy with that.”
Kelly scored Kentridge’s first five points of the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer from the left corner that gave the Chargers a 56-52 lead with 4 minutes, 58 seconds remaining.
Beamer (16-4) was lead by Bliznyuk’s 21 points; fellow senior guard Trey Burch-Manning added 14.
The Titans also get a home opener in the WCD tourney – a reward for winning the SPSL South. Beamer hosts Gig Harbor on Thursday at 7 p.m.
That’s not going to be an easy matchup for Gig Harbor.
“Beamer’s probably the best team we’ve played so far,” Kelly said.
Strong words, coming from the point guard of a 21-0 team.
4A SPSL GIRLS FINAL
Mount Rainier 70, Beamer 58: The Beamer girls’ dream of sweeping through the state tournament with an undefeated record ended in the 4A SPSL title game at the ShoWare Center.
Stanford-bound senior Brittany McPhee scored 32 points, including 10 in the final four minutes, to lead the Rams to victory.
Beamer (20-1) trailed at halftime 38-26, but the Titans fought back to take a 52-51 lead on Nia Alexander’s basket with 5:45 left in the game.
Then McPhee took over, scoring nearly every possession down the stretch.
Beamer will host Olympia in the WCD tournament opener on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Mount Rainier (18-3) finished third in the state last year. The Rams will begin their quest for a repeat trip to the Tacoma Dome when they host the No. 3 seed from the Greater St. Helens League on Thursday.