There is no better feeling than a victory over a rival, especially when it has playoff implications at stake.
Todd Beamer (10-8, 5-2 SPSL Northwest) just had a win like that, taking down Thomas Jefferson (10-9, 4-3), 60-56, on Tuesday night to move into sole possession of the No. 2 spot in the SPSL Northwest. This was also the second win of the season for Beamer over Jefferson, having beaten the Raiders, 76-61, on Dec. 19.
“It’s big for a couple of different reasons,” Beamer head coach Winston Bell said. “One of the reasons, it’s our rival. We kind of rekindled that old rivalry with TJ again. I’m really excited for the fans and the kids. They went to middle school with these kids. It’s exciting.
“Everybody played their role tonight. I believe when you play that way, guys give other teammates confidence. If I know you’ve got my back and you’re behind me while I’m guarding a guy, that’s going to make me play a little harder. I know you’re playing for me and I’m playing for you. We’re getting really close to the way we’ve expected to play defense.”
Beamer, who was led by senior Charles Frazier’s 21 points, never trailed in the game.
However, with Jefferson’s Xavier Scott-Hollis scoring a game-high 24 points, the Titans had little room for mistakes and had their lead range between two and nine points all game, including the Raiders being within a basket for much of the second half.
“It’s kind of tough,” Bell said. “It’s managing games one play at a time. It’s really stuff that give coaches gray hairs — making sure people don’t shoot too fast, making sure we don’t get caught up in the back and forth game. I think we did a really good job at playing our game and not allowing us to get caught up in playing their game.”
Despite the close game, Bell is happy to have a tight, competitive game like this before the next stage of the season.
“If I could’ve scripted it, I would’ve scripted it similar to the way it came out,” Bell said. “Getting that energy up and having them to be able to come to each other’s aid in a time of adversity, that’s big.
That’s what the playoffs is going to be about.”