Bliznyuk leads Beamer to first district title

Staff writerFebruary 23, 2014 

Bogdon Bliznyuk and the rest of the Todd Beamer boys basketball team cut down the net Saturday at Pacific Lutheran University after exposing No. 4 Kentridge with a 51-36 win.

Deservedly so as No. 7 Todd Beamer accomplished what no team had done this season, beat Kentridge, and what no team had previously done in school history – win a West Central/Southwest bidistrict title.

But even with the net draped around his neck, Bliznyuk wasn’t fulfilled. He expected this.

“We know that if we want to win state, like we do, these are games we are supposed to win,” said Bliznyuk, who scored a game-high 17 points, ending his streak of seven consecutive games with at least 20. “We are pretty happy we got this part done, but we aren’t satisfied.”

The win gives Beamer the top seed to the 4A regional tournament. The Titans lost to Central Valley in regionals last year.

Kentridge started slow on Saturday. The Chargers never found a rhythm and were sloppy with the basketball, turning it over eight times in the first half.

That’s how a team goes from averaging 67.8 points and a 24-0 record — winning games by an average 18.3 points — to scoring only 10 points in the first half and staring at a 17-point deficit.

“I can’t lie on that one. It really did shock me,” said Beamer coach Winston Bell. “But it’s a credit to our guys and their aggressiveness and will to win. That’s something we talked about a lot, and it was apparent today.”

Meanwhile, Beamer (20-4) turned a 7-4 lead into 23-5 with 4 minutes to go in the first half thanks to two buckets from Quadir Williams, and 3-pointers from Bliznyuk and Charles Frazier.

Kentridge guard Jawan Stepney, who scored 32 against Bellarmine Prep and a season-high 40 at Tahoma, had no points in the first half. He finished with a season-low four points.

“We couldn’t get a bucket and it just kind of snowballed,” said Kentridge coach David Jamison. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes. We haven’t had to deal with this.”

Stepney’s lone field goal, with 8 minutes, 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and a 3-pointer from Keasean Kelly, who led the Chargers with 13 points, left Kentridge trailing 42-28. But a quick run soon had the Titans back ahead 50-32 and the bidistrict title in its grasp.

“I’ll be honest man, we really expected to do this,” Bell said. “I can’t even think or act like this is a huge deal because we just expect to win these games. We have a special team this year.”

Curtis 67, Emerald Ridge 40: It took until the final day in the 4A bidistrict tournament loser-out game at Auburn High, but reigning 4A champion Curtis is still alive to defend its crown.

Emerald Ridge allowed 12 turnovers in the first quarter, which led to 16 points for the Vikings, and Curtis broke out to a 22-3 lead and never looked back..

As the seventh seed in the district, Curtis (21-5) will have to play either at Moses Lake or Wenatchee in the regional round next weekend.


Mount Rainier 61, Todd Beamer 41: Stanford-bound Brittany McPhee scored 16 of her game-high 33 points, and the No. 6 Rams turned a 35-30 lead before the end of the third quarter into a 20-point victory against the No. 3 Titans.

“We have been in that position before and teams came back on us,” McPhee said. “I was just like, ‘Someone has got to take over and finish this off.’ ”

The senior helped the Rams win their third consecutive West Central/Southwest bidistrict title.

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