One of the story lines entering Rainier Beach's game against Seattle Prep on Thursday involved seeing future Division I players Shaqquan...
TACOMA — One of the story lines entering Rainier Beach’s game against Seattle Prep on Thursday involved seeing future Division I players Shaqquan Aaron (Beach) and D.J. Fenner (Seattle Prep) square off.
Aaron, a junior, is committed to Louisville while Fenner, a senior, is signed with Nevada. Both were on the Star Times’ all-area team, and both shared this distinction Thursday: They were injured.
Aaron played just seven minutes — and not at all in the second half — because of a groin injury. He injured it against Lakeside and aggravated it during practice, but said after Beach’s 60-52 win against Prep, “I’m going to play Friday. No doubt, I’m going to play.”
Fenner played 25 minutes and finished with a game-high 24 points, but he injured his ankle during the week and wasn’t 100 percent.
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“D.J. got a little excited when he found out the draw on Sunday and decided to put a little extra work in,” Seattle Prep coach Mike Kelly said. “Unfortunately, certain things happened. But he was out there, and he looked pretty effective.”
Fourth time a charm?
Say this about Friday’s Class 3A semifinal matchup between No. 2 Rainier Beach and No. 8 Franklin: There will be no lack of familiarity.
The two teams will meet for the fourth time this season. Beach won each of the first three games by at least 11 points.
“Right now, it’s just a matter of not trying to come in overconfident because we’ve had (three) big wins against them,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. Bethea also pointed to the court dimensions at the Tacoma Dome as an advantage for Franklin. The floor surface is 94 feet by 50 feet, the standard size of NBA courts. That’s bigger than high-school courts, which vary in size.
“To be honest, that plays into their advantage because their team is built for speed and quickness,” Bethea said. Beach advanced to the semifinals by beating Seattle Prep 60-52 while Franklin beat Timberline 78-55.
The semifinals of the Class 3A state tournament for boys and girls will be separated by a black curtain between the two courts, but the Ladd family will have a heavy interest in both sides.
That’s because cousins Naim Ladd, a guard for No. 2 Rainier Beach’s boys team, and Myzhanique Ladd, a guard for No. 2 Cleveland’s girls team, will be competing for spots in the championship game.
Naim came off the bench and scored 11 points for Beach in just 15 minutes. Myzhanique had 12 points for Cleveland and played all but one minute.
The pair’s grandfather is former Seattle U standout Gary Ladd.