After falling a game shy of the state tournament in each of the past two seasons, the Todd Beamer girls basketball program finally got to play on the largest stage.
The Titans didn’t disappoint.
Quinessa Caylao-Do scored 18 points, Nia Alexander added 17 and Beamer overcame a double-digit deficit to beat Walla Walla in a Class 4A girls state basketball quarterfinal matchup, 55-48, on Thursday for its 19th straight win.
“This was our first time here. We had some game jitters,” said Beamer coach Corey Alexander about his squad’s first ever state playoff game. “I was just trying to settle us down (in the first half). I thought in the second half we started playing Titans basketball. We got back to doing the things we do best.”
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The Titans (26-1) will look for consecutive victory No. 20 in a semifinal battle against undefeated defending state champions Gonzaga Prep (25-0). The Bullpups advanced by defeating Bothell, 54-29, and will bring a 48-game winning streak into today’s showdown with Beamer.
Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m.
Mikayla and Kate Ferenz each scored 14 points for the Blue Devils, who were making their first state appearance in 25 years.
Walla Walla (20-4) closed out the first quarter on a 10-0 run, which was highlighted by a pair of Mikayla Ferenz 3s, to post an 18-8 lead.
Nothing came easy on offense for the Titans during a first half riddled with missed layups — they shot 29 percent from the field in the half — and uncharacteristic turnovers.
Beamer’s high-tempo style, which had constantly produced 70- and 80-point games throughout the season, was sluggish much of the first half as the Blue Devils lead expanded to 13 points at 25-12.
The Titans crept back into the contest, however, behind its defense and a late 3-point barrage.
Walla Walla failed to score during the final 4 minutes, 20 seconds of the second quarter and the Titans went 3 for 3 from beyond the arc to end the half.
Bria Rice opened the long-range shooting outburst with a triple with 1:12 remaining in the half before Cayla-Do drained a pair, including one at the buzzer to pull the Titans within four points at the break, 25-21.
Using an 11-2 run, Beamer was able to tie the game at 32 on Japhera McEachin’s 3 late in the third quarter, but entered the final frame trailing 38-34.
Caylao-Do followed back-to-back jumpers from Alexander with a pair of free throws to give the Titans their first lead since the opening minutes at 41-40 with 51/2 minutes to play.
Alexander continued to hit shots and orchestrate the offense as the advantage reach seven points (51-44).
The Titans shot 50 percent in the second half (12 of 24) and were outrebounded 29-27.