There’s not much use for rah-rah, pre-game pep talks in the Todd Beamer High boys basketball locker room this late in the season.
With one of the most successful regular seasons in school history now behind them, the Titans already walk the walk and talk the talk. Now is the time for them to prove it in the postseason.
Eighth-ranked Beamer took the first step Thursday night at home, leading from start to finish in dispatching Gig Harbor, 67-54, in a Class 4A West Central District opening round game.
“I expected these guys to come out hungry,” Beamer coach Winston Guy said. “They’re on autopilot.”
The hunger was evident from the opening tip as Beamer (17-4) ran out to a 7-0 lead to open the game, forcing the Tides to call time out just two minutes in. The Titans stretched the lead to 18-10 after the first quarter and 34-21 at the half.
The longer, faster and more athletic team, Beamer forced Gig Harbor into eight turnovers in the first half. Gig Harbor (9-12) didn’t have a remedy on defense for star forward Bogdon Bliznyuk, who poured in 10 points in the first half. Bliznyuk scored six straight points — drilling a long 3-pointer and finishing inside while being fouled — in pushing the lead to 47-28 late in the third quarter.
“I thought we moved the ball well and attacked the basket,” he said.
After the Tides narrowed the gap to 59-48 midway through the fourth, Bliznyuk forced his way to the rim through a clogged lane and finished in traffic before being fouled. He drilled the ensuing free throw to put the game back out of reach.
“I was just trying to go hard,” said the senior, who finished with a game-high 23 points.
Trey Burch-Manning added 14 points, and Charles Frazier added 11 for the Titans, who turned the ball over just four times in the second half. The starters played limited minutes in the fourth quarter.
The Titans move on to play rival Federal Way, an 82-58 winner over Battle Ground, at 1 p.m. Saturday at Auburn High School.
“I’m excited for that game,” said Guy, who is 1-1 against the Eagles this year. “It’s an exciting time for the city of Federal Way.”
Fife 51, Renton 48: Despite losing four starters to foul trouble, Isaiah Kelly’s (nine points) key fourth-quarter shots helped the Trojans stave off an Indians comeback to advance to the Class 2A sub-district finals against the winner of the White River/Clover Park game Friday.
Renton will play the loser of the White River/Clover Park game for the No. 3 seed.
Kentridge 59, Evergreen (Vancouver) 51: The Chargers second-half surge behind Danny Torlai’s 15 points helped them defeat the Plainsmith and advance to the second round of the Class 4A West Central/Southwest boys’ basketball Bi-District Tournament.
Curtis 58, Tahoma 53: Jason Williams stole the opening tipoff and the SPSL South Vikings never looked back as Curtis advanced to the second-round after defeating the SPSL North Bears in the Class 4A West Central/Southwest Bi-District boys’ basketball tournament.
Mount Rainier 69, Union 24: Brittany McPhee had a game-high 26 points to help the SPSL North Rams to a rout of the GSHL Titans to advance to the second round to face Tahoma/Central Kitsap (winner) Friday at Rogers in Puyallup.
Bellarmine Prep 52, Auburn Riverside 34: With the game tied heading into the fourth quarter, the Lions defense stifled the Ravens as Jasmyne Holmes nailed clutch free-throw after free-throw to give Bellarmine the win.
The Lions will advance to the quarter finals to face Kentwood at Rogers.