If the Todd Beamer High School girls basketball team loses, that means the other team is probably very good.
The previous four teams to beat the Titans dating to the 2014-15 season: Central Valley, Lynnwood, Bellevue and Gonzaga Prep.
Todd Beamer’s previous loss to a league opponent was to Brittany McPhee-led Mount Rainier on Feb. 11, 2014. McPhee now plays for Stanford.
So what could be in store, then, for Auburn Riverside, which led wire-to-wire and held on for a 41-40 home victory over Beamer on Tuesday?
“I think that’s more of a compliment to (Beamer),” first-year Auburn Riverside coach Christian Miller said. “Because they are a really good team and a really good program and they don’t lose very often.”
OK, so maybe Auburn Riverside (6-2) still has some growing to do before it can compare itself to the past two 4A state champions, Central Valley and Gonzaga Prep, or reigning 3A champion Bellevue.
But this was a confidence-boosting, marquee win for the Ravens in their first matchup against the Titans (9-1) as 4A NPSL Olympic division stalwarts.
“We really needed that,” Auburn Riverside’s Faith Turner said. “We really needed this to really feel like we’re something.”
Beamer had the ball with 0.4 seconds remaining and Auburn Riverside leading 41-38, when Japhera McEachin was fouled on a 3-point attempt from the corner.
With 0.1 seconds to go, McEachin hit the first free throw but missed the second and made the third.
“All day, all day, all day — I want her to be the one taking those” Beamer coach Corey Alexander said. “She hits 100 percent in practice, but this gives us something to grow on.”
The Ravens easily inbounded the ball to secure the win.
Auburn Riverside never trailed and led by as many as 13 points.
McKenzi Williams, a 5-foot-6 point guard, and Turner, a 6-foot-3 center, each scored 14 points and terrorized the Titans on pick and rolls.
Even when Williams, the reigning 3A SPSL MVP, didn’t finish on her bursts to the basket, Turner was typically there for the offensive rebound.
“That pick and roll — it’s like the Utah Jazz with John Stockton and Karl Malone,” Alexander said. “We’ve got to find an answer for that.”
It’s a chemistry the seniors said they’ve developed since they started playing with each other in the sixth grade.
“Those are two players you’d love to have in a pick and roll,” said Miller, who was the Ravens’ assistant coach the previous three years before taking over as head coach this year.
“You got (Williams) with her quickness and her vision and scoring ability. And then you got (Turner) who then finishes and has good hands. I would be a bad coach if I didn’t go to that.”
Williams stepped into a 3-pointer to give the Ravens a 38-29 lead with 4:45 remaining.
But then Olivia Denton, who had nine points and 11 rebounds for Auburn Riverside, exited the game with a knee injury shortly after, and Beamer responded with an 11-3 run.
Williams had one more crucial basket — an acrobatic, sweeping layup with her right hand, which she finished through a foul for the three-point play with 1:59 to play to put the Ravens up 41-36.
“Honestly, I love the pressure,” Williams said. “It’s like, it just gets me more hyped. I just want to get it done at that point. I love when it’s eyes on me and people are expecting big from me because that’s when I produce the most.”
Beamer, which lost four starters from last season’s 4A state semifinal team, got 14 points from McEachin and 13 from Mckenzie Bond.
“They came in here and wanted to be the first to beat Beamer,” Alexander said. “They came out to do that.
“Our girls got to realize that we’re the team that everybody is trying to beat.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677