Todd Beamer and senior Japhera McEachin’s explosive first quarter helped the Titans claim a spot inside the Tacoma Dome for the third consecutive year after defeating Rogers, 73-61, in the regional round of the 4A state playoffs on Saturday at Puyallup High.
It happened in a flash after Darion Brown tied the game at 2-apiece just over a minute into the first. On Todd Beamer’s (21-6) next possession, McEachin stepped up and calmly hit a 3-point shot on the wing giving the Titans the lead, 5-2.
“We came out fired up, and that just tuned us into the game,” said McEachin who finished the game with a game-high 31 points. “Basketball is about a game of runs. They’re going to go on a run, but we have to keep our composure and make stops and execute on the offensive end.”
McEachin had the hot hand as the Titans senior guard hit four consecutive 3s to give Beamer a double-digit lead over Rogers (18-8) before the Rams could find an answer.
“It’s one of those things about staying consistent. The seniors really put the ball in their hands,” Titans coach Corey Alexander said. “Japhera and Darion have been at this stage before. They were relaxed. It was one of those things. …get on my shoulders, we’ll carry you there.”
Beamer finished the first quarter 5-for-5 from beyond the arc to stake out a 24-8 lead.
Rogers opened the game cold, but found a spark in the second to make the game more competitive as Pepperdine commit Jessi Westering willed her team back into the contest.
“I think for all of us it was ‘What are you going to do when you get punched in the mouth?’ And we got uppercut pretty good,” said Westering who finished the game with a team-high 27 points. “I’m so proud of our team because we had games where we were punched in the mouth and we turned and walked away. But we stepped up and we stuck it to them.”
In the fourth, Westering and teammate Tristan Coltom (13 points) cut Beamer’s lead to single digits, 48-41, with 6:31 left to play.
“We knew coming in this that we would have to overcome adversity, and we knew that all we had to do was keep up and never give up,” Coltom said.
Titans post Makenzie Bond (24 points, 11 rebounds) stopped the Rams rally as Beamer’s junior made crucial stops on defense, and finished off drives on the offensive end.
“Today, as a team, we wanted to be aggressive since we didn’t play aggressive last game,” Bond said. “I really wanted it today – I really wanted it as a team. We really wanted to get back to the (Tacoma) Dome, so we gave it our all today.”
Todd Beamer will play Kentridge (22-5), which defeated Moses Lake, 65-57, at the Tacoma Dome at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“All I tell the girls now is that everybody is good. We just have to leave it on the floor and the best team wins,” Alexander said.