The last time that Todd Beamer and Kentridge High School played against each other was a matchup in early February, when the Chargers beat the Titans by six.
Wednesday’s game at the Tacoma Dome in the first round of the 4A state championships was a different story.
The Chargers handled the Titans by dominating in the paint early and often, and cruised to a 57-40 rout.
“Our kids defensively really shut them down,” said Chargers coach Bob Sandall. “They have five really good scorers that can score in bunches and I thought we did a good job of being in the right spot and pushing them out.”
Even though the Titans got the first points off a Mackenzie Bond jump shot, the Chargers were dominant in the first quarter of the game as they kept feeding JaQuaya Miller and Jordyn Jenkins the ball.
In fact, Kentridge was on an early 10-0 run before Todd Beamer called a timeout to reel their players back in.
“We let Kentridge get comfortable on the boards,” said Titans coach Corey Alexander. “That was our downfall as we went away from our game plan, letting the get boards.”
Again, Miller and Jenkins were the biggest problems for the Titans as by halftime, Miller had grabbed five rebounds and Jenkins four.
But the Titans were not deterred in the second quarter as their offense started to wake up. Japhera McEachin was the biggest spark for the Titans as a steal and layup motivated her teammates.
“She’s been playing well all season long,” Alexander said. “She’s our floor general, our floor leader, she gets everybody involved. Just a coach’s dream to give 110% every time. She will be missed.”
The senior guard finished her last game as a Titan with 14 total points, leading the team in scoring. Todd Beamer cut it close at the half as the score was 30-21 in favor of Kentridge.
But another quarter where the Chargers just dominated is what sealed it away.
“My team just got me prepared, we got ready for the game in practice,” Miller said. “It felt just like a practice because I was out there having fun with my teammates.”
More often than not, Miller was taking the tough shots for Kentridge with hands in her face.
“We knew that Beamer could come out hard, so we had to come out ten times harder,” she said. “We just came out and hyped each other up.”
It worked. Miller was the third highest scorer for the Chargers, scoring 11 points. Jenkins led all scorers with 15 points and Tresai McCarver added 14.
“I’m proud of my kids,” Sandall said. “We went down to Moses Lake and battled them really tough but didn’t get the win. To come back and play this well against a solid Beamer team makes me very proud of them.”
Kentridge will play Kentlake for the fifth time this season at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.