As soon as the Beamer High School girls believe on a full-time basis they are one of the emerging basketball powerhouses in the state of Washington, watch out.
For a half, the Titans played tentative and settled for 3-pointers. In the second half, they got hot, confident and blew away previously unbeaten Lynnwood, 55-43, in the marquee matchup of the King Showcase at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
Bria Rice led the Titans with 16 points — 10 coming in the decisive second half. Quinessa Caylao-Do added 14 points, with nine of them coming after halftime. Beamer made seven of 11 third-quarter field goal attempts to erase a deficit.
As for the Royals — The News Tribune’s No. 1 team in Class 3A — they missed 19 consecutive shots from the floor in the second half, and were done in by a 17-1 Beamer run.
Beamer is the second-ranked team in Class 4A, and has more than enough firepower to challenge for a state title.
“In the first half, we were pressing,” Beamer coach Corey Alexander said. “We wanted to make that big shot, or score that first bucket. I don’t think we ran our offense until the second half.”
Lynnwood (11-1) isn’t used to losing. Besides being unbeaten coming the showdown Monday, it had also won every game in all of its summer tournaments.
It has a powerful inside game with Mikayla Pivec (16 points, 15 rebounds) and Kelsey Rogers (11 points, eight rebounds). But in the second half, the Titans’ active, ever-switching defense gained the upper hand.
“It was the first time we met a team that played that solid defense where it had us a little bit uncomfortable,” Lynnwood coach Everett Edwards said.
The Royals had one late spurt in them. They scored seven consecutive points early in the fourth quarter to slice Beamer’s lead to 40-37 with 3:10 remaining.
But Nia Alexander hit jump shots on back-to-back Beamer possessions, and the Titans (12-1) made 10 of 12 free throws in the final 1:36.
“We grew up,” Rice said. “We are a young team, and this was our time to play smart.”
Karley Eaton finished with a game-high 25 points. Her 3-pointer with 4:03 to go gave Mark Morris (12-2) a 33-13 lead.
Kourtney Eaton added 23 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists. The Monarchs made 11 3-pointers.
“They have three very, very skilled kids,” White River coach Chris Gibson said. “They hit open shots and we don’t. They are better than us right now — they just are.”
White River standout Amanda Lance scored a season-low seven points. She did not hit her first goal until the 5:50 mark of the fourth quarter. Kendall Bird paced the 2A SPSL champions with 15 points.
Kispert, at 6-foot-5, had his way with the Lions, tallying 14 points and nine points as King’s — the No 1 team in Class 2A — won in Kent.
With University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar courtside, Kispert had a throwdown dunk that rattled the entire rim structure with 6:50 to go that gave the Knights a 44-27 lead.