The Todd Beamer boys basketball team had just completed a double-digit comeback in the second half, and, out of stupor, coach Winston Bell caved to demands and told the cheering section behind him they could storm the court.
He quickly attempted to recant his blessing before the final buzzer, smiling while shaking his head and hands at the crowd. But they had already made up their minds.
“I don’t think they liked the way (Federal Way’s crowd) ran on the floor at our house,” Bell said.
No. 8 Beamer rallied behind Bogdon Bliznyuk’s 32 points and the Titans defeated Federal Way, 64-59, on Saturday in the District 3/4 quarterfinals.
Beamer split its two 4A South Puget Sound League games with the Eagles, with Federal Way winning 67-64 on Feb. 9 at Beamer.
The win sends the Titans to the district semifinals to face Stadium and gives them an automatic regional berth.
But Beamer appeared more likely to have a date with the consolation round midway through the third quarter.
Federal Way’s Malik Montoya, who scored 24 points, threw a no-look pass that led to an underneath basket, then blocked Bliznyuk’s corner jumper as the Eagles would go on to take a 44-32 lead.
But then came Bliznyuk.
The 6-foot-5 forward ended the spiraling with a 3-pointer from about five feet beyond the arc. He hit another through a foul the next possession, made the free throw and brought the gym to life.
Bliznyuk made one more 3 after that to cut the lead to 48-44.
“I was like ‘This is my senior year, I hate losing, I want to win a state championship,” said Bliznyuk, who scored 18 points in the second half. “So I just had to put it on my back, get all the troops rallied.”
But Bliznyuk fouled out with 2 minutes, 14 seconds left chasing a loose ball with Montoya, who hit both free throws and tied the game at 58.
Beamer’s Trey Burch-Manning had the ball poked away with Titans up 60-58, and Montoya was fouled on the Federal Way fast break. Montoya made the first, but missed a second with less than 30 seconds to play.
Federal Way didn’t immediately foul, and Burch-Manning found Charles Frazier under the basket, who made the shot and got a foul call with 20 seconds left. It put the game away at 63-59.
Stadium 39, Curtis 37, OT: Stadium held the ninth-ranked Vikings to one point in the second quarter.
“That’s how we play, we tell them ‘Grind it out, grind it out,’ ” said Stadium coach Doug Cocke’, who said he threw out his back from the bench in the overtime period.
Curtis recovered in the second half and used an 8-0 run, including two 3-pointers from Torey Causey, to take a 33-31 lead with less than two minutes left.
Curtis led 37-33 in overtime when Stadium’s Lucious Brown found Bobby Moorehead for a corner 3 and then connected with Moorehead for another basket to take a 38-37 lead.
Aushanti Potts-Woods led Curtis with 14 points. Brown scored 13.
“Our defense can play with any team in the state,” Brown said. “I told them, ‘If we play defense, we’ll win the game.’ And that’s what we did.”
Bellarmine Prep 46, Union 45: Mar’kese Jackson was blocked underneath the basket, but tipped in his own miss and got a foul call with 4.6 seconds left. He made the free throw and the Lions held on for the one-point win. Jackson led the Lions with 18 points. Riley Hawken paced Union with 22.
Kentridge 70, Puyallup 53: Jawan Stepney scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the first half and Kentridge cruised to its 23rd win, keeping its record unblemished. The Chargers will face Bellarmine Prep in the district semifinals on Thursday.