The surprising 3A first-round matchup between No. 1 Rainier Beach and No. 2 Bellevue lived up to its billing for two-and-a-half quarters.
But midway through the third period, Rainier Beach pressed the hyperspace button and took off at warp speed. After building a 23-point lead, the Vikings held on for a 74-65 victory.
“Once we got over the jitters, in the second half, the guys were pretty focused,” said Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea.
Rainier Beach (24-3) advances to the state 3A semifinal against the winner of the Eastside Catholic/Marysville-Pilchuck game. That game is scheduled to tip off at 9 p.m. Friday.
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Bellevue took an early 8-2 lead, gave it up, and then hung around for a long time. When Kyle Foreman knocked down a 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 30 seconds to go in the third quarter, it was only a 43-40 Rainier Beach lead.
That’s when Rainier Beach went on a 20-1 scoring run that lasted into the fourth quarter.
Senior guard Shadeed Shabazz started the streak by cutting to the basket for a left-handed runner. Then point guard Ivy Smith found junior Marquis Gurski in the paint for a lay-in, and De’Jounte Murray made a finger-roll, Gurski had a steal and hit Shabazz for a layup, and Vincenzo Reiser had a reverse lay-in to make it 10 straight points.
Most of these fastbreak baskets came after Bellevue misses.
“We started limiting them to one shot,” said Bethea. “We felt that if we could limit them to one shot, we can get up the court as fast as anybody in the state.”
Shabazz had 20 points, most of them coming on layups at the end of fast breaks.
“We knew they couldn’t run with us,” said Shabazz. “Rebound, and we go.”
Washington commit De’Jounte Murray showed his all-around game, scoring 20 points on an economical 10 shots. He also dished out five assists and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Reiser finished with 20 points on 10 of 13 shooting. That was a big part of the Vikings’ 53.4 percent shooting for the game.
That shooting percentage was the key to the game in the eyes of Bellevue coach Chris O’Connor, who saw his team accomplish its two main goals but suffer from a poor shooting night.
“The whole game plan was to take care of the ball and keep them off the glass,” said O’Connor. “The problem was they shot the ball very well, and we didn’t.”
Bellevue outrebounded Rainier Beach 46-37 and made just 11 turnovers against the Vikings’ pressure defense. But Bellevue shot just 32.9 percent on the night.
Foreman and Mikey Henn each scored 17 points to lead the Wolverines.
Bellevue (23-4) faces the Eastside Catholic/Marysville-Pilchuck loser on Friday at 2 p.m.