It may have taken a while, but when the Wilson Rams came together as a team it resulted in their first trip to the Tacoma Dome since 2014.
After seeing their season end with a 93-72 loss to fifth ranked Rainier Beach in a loser-out game of the 3A state tournament on Friday, head coach Dave Alwert Jr. hopes his team learned it could’ve accomplished even more if it would have come together sooner.
“You’ve got to take every practice seriously,” Alwert said. “We always talk about game shots, game spots, game speed. When you get to the dome, the closeouts are a lot faster, and you really need to practice a lot harder so that the game is easier.”
There is no question the Rams have talented individuals, but the challenge for Alwert was getting them to buy into the team philosophy.
“We’ve got some big-time egos, but those egos sacrificed a lot for the team and to do what was necessary to get to the dome,” Alwert said. “We’re young. We’re going to miss a few seniors that did some great things, but our big-time nucleus is with our underclassmen.”
After losing in Thursday’s quarterfinals to West Seattle, the Rams drew another team Metro team in Rainier Beach. The Vikings, who nearly erased in eight-point deficit in the final minute to knock off Garfield the night before, proved early on that they weren’t still lamenting what could’ve been.
“They came back and played with energy and played with some pride,” Rainier Beach head coach Mike Bethea said. “You have to be proud of that.”
The Vikings jumped out to a 29-11 lead after one quarter and led by as many as 32. They were seven points away from being the first team to reach 100 points in the Tacoma Dome since Ferris did it in 2007 and were 11 points away from breaking their own state tournament scoring record of 103 set in 1988.
“That’s the one thing we wanted to do is to come out and play with energy and speed the game up,” Bethea said. “We know they’re a team that wants to try and play fast, and that plays right into our hands, so we were happy with that.”
Kevin Porter led the Vikings with 26 points, and N’Keil Nelson and Freddie Roberson each added 15. Emmitt Matthews Jr. scored 23 to lead Wilson, and Londrell Hamilton added 16 in his final high school game.
Wilson: Emmitt Matthews Jr. 23, Londrell Hamilton 16, Daniel Santana 8, Nathaniel Stokes 9, Austin Bates 4, Syrus Penor 3, Michael Doss 7, Anthony Stokes 1, Emani Mitchell 1.
Rainier Beach: Kahlil Shabazz 14, TiJon Rodde 8, Freddie Roberson 15, N’Keil Nelson 15, Nick Hopkins 4, Kevin Porter 26, Nehemie Kabeya 9, Kendall Williams 2.