The Todd Beamer girls basketball team were all too familiar with the venue.
The previous two seasons, the Titans ventured into the Puyallup High School gymnasium for a regional battle, only to see their season come screeching to an end both times despite being the higher seed.
In the Titans’ third consecutive trip to the same location for the same game, the script was finally flipped.
Quinessa Caylao-Do scored 22 points, Nia Alexander added 19 and the Titans executed a tenacious full-court press to hammer Olympia, 71-39, in a Class 4A regional girls basketball game Friday.
“We came in focused and ready tonight,” said Beamer coach Corey Alexander, Nia Alexander’s father. “We haven’t had the best of luck here, but they say third time is a charm.”
It certainly was for the Titans (26-1), who overwhelmed the Bears from the opening tip as they secured their first trip to the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome with their 16th straight victory.
Olympia ends its season with a record of 18-8 with the loss.
“No one believed we’d make it this far,” Olympia coach Nigel Warren said. “This isn’t the way we wanted to see our season end, but to be one of the top 16 teams left playing in the state is a huge accomplishment. We will take that.”
Senior Jona Spiller scored a team-high 13 points for the Bears, who trailed the entire contest.
The Titans lost their previous two regional games at Puyallup High, seeing their once-promising seasons end a game shy of the state tournament. Both defeats were to Arlington, 50-42 in 2013 and 35-33 last year.
Unlike its past two regional games, which went down to the wire, Beamer wrapped this one up relatively quickly.
The Titans opened the game on a 13-0 run, getting seven points from Nia Alexander.
“We just wanted them to go out there and play their style of game,” Corey Alexander said. “Get up and down the court and be athletes.”
Olympia missed its first five shots from the field and had nine turnovers before a Spiller bucket finally got the Bears on the scoreboard 5 1/2 minutes into the game.
“We were flustered early,” Warren said. “I thought we had the right tempo. We just had a bad shooting night. We battled back and never quit but, by the time we finally found a groove, the game was too far out of reach.”
The Titans led 20-2 late in the first quarter.
Olympia had a brief run, cutting the deficit to 25-13 midway through the second quarter, but Beamer simply put its foot back on the gas and outscored the Bears 21-3 to end the first half and take a commanding 46-16 lead into the break.
“You have to give Beamer a lot of credit,” Warren said. “That’s a very good team we played tonight. They have a lot of athletes and we had difficulty matching up with them.”
Olympia opened the second half on a 9-2 run before the Titans sealed the victory with a 19-2 run as the advantage ballooned to 67-27 a minute into the fourth quarter.
“We’re going to build on this,” Warren said. “We got a taste this year. The seniors left a foundation for us to build a legacy on. I’m excited about where Olympia basketball is headed.”
The Bears also received five points from both Jenna Randich and Mackenzie Cooper.
Makenna Woodfolk and Bria Rice each scored seven points for the Titans.