For a Seattle-on-Seattle Class 3A state boys basketball championship game, Tacoma was well represented.
Alphonso Anderson was the most instrumental of the Tacoma products. The 6-foot-6 junior transferred to Garfield from Wilson before the season and helped the Bulldogs win their 13th state title in school history a year after leading the Rams to the state semifinals.
“I mean, it’s just crazy holding that gold ball up. It just brings chills to my body,” Anderson said. “I love doing it in purple.”
The transition was rocky. New school. New teammates. New classes. Anderson said it took him until just before Garfield’s first game against Rainier Beach in mid-January to finally find his groove.
“It was definitely tough at first,” Anderson said. “I came in during practices and wasn’t too comfortable. I wasn’t taking the shots I normally do. My team pushed me to do that and they wanted me to do that and I appreciated that. That helped me out for later and we got it done.”
And he was going against a former teammate — Rainier Beach senior point guard Ivy Smith Jr. The two were starters at Wilson last season, but opponents Saturday for the third time this season. Rainier Beach won the first two matchups before Garfield took Saturday’s title game.
Smith had six points and five assists for the Vikings.
“It was fun. We played him three times this year and every time it was competitive,” Anderson said. “It’s crazy. Tacoma repping Seattle. It’s great. It’s great.”
The other Tacoma-area product was Garfield coach Ed Haskins, a 1990 graduate of Clover Park who won his second consecutive state championship as the Bulldogs’ coach. He and Anderson’s mom attended Pierce College together.
“I was thanking God (when he learned Anderson was transferring to Garfield),” Haskins said. “I really was thanking God. I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ I’m like ‘Hey, listen, are you serious?’ ”
Unless the team disbands — or the school mysteriously closes down — the expectation would be that the Beamer girls would enter next season as the top-ranked basketball team in the state.
Their top four players — center Makenna Woodfolk, forward Nia Alexander and guards Bria Rice and Quinessa Caylao-Do — will return as seniors, giving them arguably the best collection of players in Class 4A. The Titans placed third in Class 4A on Saturday by edging Moses Lake, 45-42.
“That would be our year to do it,” Beamer coach Corey Alexander said. “We are looking forward to it.”
So who would join Beamer on the short list of state favorites next season?
From Eastern Washington, it starts with the team the Titans played Saturday — Moses Lake. The Chiefs have point guard Jessie Loera, who will be one of the state’s top recruits next season. And most of their good frontcourt players will be sophomores.
Bellarmine Prep should still be good with Shalyse Smith, Jayana Ervin and McKenzie Alton all back.
But really, if the Titans continue on their current arc, they will be a hungry, tough-minded group.
“Our plan it take all we’ve learned from this whole tournament, work on our weaknesses … and become more mature about basketball,” Caylao-Do said. “I feel we already have a target on our backs, and we are ready for that.”
Metro League rules
The top five places in the 3A state boys tournament in order: Garfield, Rainier Beach, Eastside Catholic, Lakeside, Seattle Prep. All five are from the 3A Metro League. Bellevue, which is from the same Sea-King district, placed sixth.