The numbers in Rainier Beach's game against O'Dea on Saturday tell the majority of the story. In the first quarter, the Vikings committed...
The numbers in Rainier Beach’s game against O’Dea on Saturday tell the majority of the story.
In the first quarter, the Vikings committed seven turnovers while O’Dea had just three. As a result, they trailed by three.
In the second quarter, the Vikings committed just two turnovers while forcing O’Dea into eight. They built a 16-point halftime lead as a result.
The lesson from No. 3 Beach’s 68-56 win against O’Dea is simple: Take care of the ball and good things will happen.
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“That’s the key with us,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. “When we don’t turn the ball over, we’re a great team. Every game we’ve lost this year we’ve beat ourselves. It’s all about learning.
“We’re just trying to teach these kids how to value possession of the ball. Because when we do that and take advantage of our weapons, I’ll be honest with you, we’re a tough team to beat.”
That’s especially the case when the Vikings are at full strength. Rainier Beach (11-3) returned four players who were held out of Beach’s previous games for what Bethea called “disciplinary reasons.”
Marquis Davis, Will Dorsey, Elijah Foster and KeiWuan Miller all returned to the lineup and each scored at least two points.
Rainier Beach blitzed O’Dea (6-8) in the second quarter, converting turnovers into easy buckets. The Irish scored just six points in the quarter.
Shaqquan Aaron, Beach’s 6-foot-7 junior, scored 10 of his game-high 31 points in the second quarter. Aaron displayed a wide range of offensive weapons, slashing to the basket, pulling up for three-pointers and finding open teammates for easy buckets.
Twice in the third quarter after O’Dea started making a run, Aaron calmly came down the court and buried deep three-pointers to reassert Beach.
“It felt like it was my time to score again,” Aaron said. “I couldn’t let them come back. They tried to, but that’s when I had to go get the ball. But I’m used to my teammates now. They know me, they trust me in certain situations, so everything is going good now.”
Beach held a 20-point lead at the end of three quarters and led by as many as 23 early in the fourth quarter. But O’Dea answered with an 18-3 run in the fourth.
O’Dea’s Jamie Orme hit two free throws to cut Beach’s lead to eight with one minute left, but that’s as close as the Irish would get.
“That’s the thing that jumps out to me as the thing I’m most proud of,” O’Dea coach Al Hairston said. “We didn’t get quit. We gave ourselves a chance to get back in it, but it just didn’t quite happen.”
Orme led O’Dea with 17 points and Aaron Falaniko added 16. Dajuan Piper scored 12 points for Beach.
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org