After three quarters of settling for midrange jump shots and 3-pointers, the Todd Beamer boys basketball team knew something had to change down the stretch in order to put away the pesky Stadium Tigers and secure a spot in Saturday’s Class 4A West Central District championship game.
So the Titans forced their way into the lane and started finishing at the rim in the fourth quarter, turning a close game into a comfortable 59-46 win over Stadium on Thursday night at Auburn High School in a district semifinal game.
Todd Beamer (19-4) advances to play Kentridge, a 65-52 winner over Bellarmine Prep, in the WCD title game set for 10 a.m. Saturday at Pacific Lutheran University.
“We call those ‘playoff buckets,’” Beamer coach Winston Bell said of the layups and high-percentage shots around the rim. “Less shooting, more layups.”
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After seeing a 10-point lead get whittled down to 38-35 after three quarters, Beamer dialed up the offense a notch in the fourth quarter. The Titans opened the quarter on an 11-0 run, with forward Bogdon Bliznyuk capping the run with seven straight points. Bliznyuk finished with a game-high 26, and Trey Burch-Manning added 14 — including eight in the fourth quarter, when the Titans erupted for 21 points.
“I think we were a little hesitant early on ... they were trying to slow (the pace) down quite a bit,” Bell said.
The offensive lull early in the fourth — the Tigers didn’t score a basket until halfway into the quarter — finally did Stadium (15-7) in.
“We’re never out of it because of our defense, but their length and their pressure got to us,” Stadium coach Doug Cocke said.
Senior forward Lucious Brown scored 19 points to lead the Tigers, who were playing without the injured 6-foot-7 junior Bobby Moorehead.
KENTRIDGE 65, BELLARMINE PREP 52
Jawan Stepney scored 32 points, and the undefeated Chargers got a spirited performance from their front line in the second half to help pull away from Bellarmine in a WCD semifinal game.
The win sets up a rematch of the 4A South Puget Sound League championship game — which Kentridge won — with Todd Beamer on Saturday.