Todd Beamer head coach Corey Alexander not only had to say goodbye to his best player when Nia Alexander graduated following the 2015-16 girls basketball season, but he had to say goodbye to his daughter.
Luckily for him, another daughter was on the way.
Freshman Aaliyah Alexander starts for the No. 6-ranked (4A) Titans, and with her 17 points, six rebounds and three assists in a 83-53 rout of No. 8-ranked (3A) Wilson in Saturday’s Alliance Flooring Showdown at Highline College, she looks like she is on her way to a successful high school career, much like her sister.
“She’s working hard,” Corey Alexander said. “She’s feeling comfortable out there, so as a father, and a coach, that’s all you can ask for. Her IQ is very high, and she just fits in.”
Aaliyah Alexander scored 10 of her 17 points in the first half, joining junior post Makenzie Bond (12 points) and senior post Darion Brown (14 points) in double figures at halftime. The trio helped the Titans outscore the Rams, 22-7, in the second quarter to build a 43-20 lead at halftime.
“We really focused on the girls playing together, moving the basketball, and help-side defense was a main focus,” Corey Alexander said. “That, and our bigs playing big really kind of threw them off a little bit.”
It didn’t help that the Rams’ best player spent much of the first half on the bench. Senior guard Josie Matz left the game after hitting her head in the first quarter. She entered the concussion protocol and played three minutes in the first half. She returned in the second half, when she scored 12 of her 14 points.
“She’s their bread and butter,” Corey Alexander said. “She does a lot for the team. She’s a threat from the inside and outside, so we definitely had to make sure we pay attention to her, but we had a game plan for that. I think we did good job.”
The Rams could never find an answer for Bond, who continued to dominate in the second half. She finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
“She’s capable of doing that every night,” Corey Alexander said. “Last year, we had a lot of (Division)-I guards that were here, so the ball didn’t go to her too much. But she said, ‘Coach, I’m ready this year.’ And she shows it, in practice and in games. … It’s going to be hard to stop her.”
Turns out it’s hard to stop both starting posts for the Titans. Brown finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while showing the ability to score inside and outside.
“We like our bigs to shoot,” Corey Alexander said. “If they leave you open, let them know you can shoot also. Darion Brown has been working on her jump shot, attacking the hoop and being strong with the basketball. It showed today the work that she puts in at practice.”
With the ability of the two posts and the team’s willingness to share the basketball, the Titans, who improved to 6-0, could once again be a force in the postseason.
“When we play as a team and play well together, we can probably beat any team,” Bond said. “We just have to come to play and work our hardest.”
Todd Beamer 21 22 21 19 - 83
Wilson 13 7 19 14 - 53
Todd Beamer: Japhera McEachin 6, Chasity Spady 2, Halo Parks 1, Najea Forks 0, Aaliyah Alexander 17, Averie Miller 9, Darion Brown 22, Makenzie Bond 26.
Wilson: Kiara McMillan 8, England Stubblefield 0, Josie Matz 14, Brooklyn Grant 13, Kiara Maxwell 4, Zawshajnal Davis 2, Blanche Williams 0, Desiree Ayler 2, Hope Lalau-Byrd 8, Moelicia Edwards 2.