Three consecutive years in the district championship game and finally the Todd Beamer High School girls basketball team got to cut down those nets.
“I feel like I finally got that monkey off my back,” Beamer coach Corey Alexander said.
Quinessa Caylao-Do scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter as the second-ranked Titans regrouped from a harried first-half to beat No. 5 Bellarmine Prep, 47-42, for their first-ever 4A West Central District 3 title.
Beamer (24-1) hasn’t scored so few points in a game this season. And it was the first time it allowed more than 31 in nine games.
That’s what Bellarmine’s length will do. 6-foot-4 senior Claire Martin, 6-foot freshman Shalyse Smith and company dominated in the paint defensively, limiting the Titans to 16 points in the first half.
Martin’s basket to start the third quarter put the Lions (21-2) ahead 25-16.
But those free throws. Bellarmine made 8 of 20 for the game and lost to an in-state opponent for the first time this season. (The Lions’ only previous loss this season was to Cajon of California on Dec. 27.)
“We tell them all the time that free throws and layins win championships,” Bellarmine Prep coach Kevin Meines said, “and we didn’t do enough of them tonight.”
Beamer scored more points in the third quarter (21) than it did the entire first half. Bria Rice hit a 3-pointer from the left wing, then a fast-break layup off a steal, and followed with another 3 — those eight being her only points of the game — as Beamer suddenly led, 35-32. The Titans went on a 17-5 run to end the third quarter.
Caylao-Do then took over in the fourth to keep Bellarmine at bay.
“It’s a great feeling. We’ve been working hard for this all season,” Caylao-Do said. “I think we are going to do big things this year.”
This after running into Brittany McPhee (now at Stanford) and Mount Rainier each of the past two district title games, losing both.
Not that Bellarmine Prep was much easier.
“You have to take your hats off to Bellarmine Prep,” Alexander said. “They are long. They play that zone really good. But our girls turned it around, settled down and got the job done.”
The junior guard made five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 29 points as the latest Eagles player to have a big scoring night.
With Viont’e Daniels, Christian Jones and D’Jimon Jones having put up similar scoring nights already, it had Flavors thinking of a different net to cut down.
“I just can’t wait to cut them down at the Dome,” he said.
Federal Way (23-2) jumped out to a 11-0 lead, led by 10 at halftime and outscored the Conquerors (22-3) 22-10 in the third quarter for its second WCD title since 2009.
Malik Sanchez led Kentwood with 19 points.