The Todd Beamer Titans trailed Gonzaga Prep by 12 points halfway through their 4A boys state tournament basketball game Thursday before rolling to a 57-49 win at the Tacoma Dome.
Beamer coach Winston Bell was asked what message he delivered to his team at halftime.
“Play harder or go home,” he said. “And I don’t mean go home after the game, I mean go home right now. Just don’t go back out: Just go home.”
Instead, the Titans played harder – and more efficiently.
Beamer had created many of its own troubles in the first half when half of Gonzaga Prep’s 28 points came off of 12 Beamer turnovers.
When the Titans started taking better care of the ball in the second half, they worked their way back into the game.
The lead went back and forth for a while until Beamer opened breathing room with clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch. The Titans hit 20 of 23 free throw attempts.
Beamer’s balanced attack was led by Quadir Williams with 18 points, including 10-for-10 from the foul line. Trey Burch-Manning had 15 points and a game-high four assists. All-Area player of the year Bogdon Bliznyuk added 13 points, with 11 of those coming in the second half.
Sam Dowd and Brendan McClary led the Bullpups with 12 points each.
“One of the things that I tell them, ‘Bogdon is getting the accolades right now, but we’ve done this the whole year as a team,” Bell said. “‘And we’re going to continue to do it as a team, and that’s the only way we’re going to win is as a team.’”
And what about Bell’s own game-turning halftime speech?
“It’s good to have it in the pocket if you need it,” he said.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808