Facing the first signs of adversity of the young season, Rainier Beach responded like it was in midseason form.
The No. 1 Vikings blew past No. 7 Seattle Prep in the second half Saturday night and eased to a 78-49 win over the Panthers.
In its second game in as many days, Rainier Beach (3-0) started slowly and was unable to play the fast-paced, active style that has become its trademark. After halftime, though, the Vikings started to show flashes of the offense that broke the 100-point barrier in their first two games, ripping off a 25-7 run over six-and-a-half minutes to give them a 54-33 lead.
“They did a good job, (but) it wasn’t so much what they were doing, it was what we were doing out there,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. “We weren’t running our offense and just kind of caught up in the game and stuff — making a lot of mistakes.”
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Seattle Prep (3-1) led 20-18 at halftime and effectively kept the pace slow by not allowing the Vikings to get out in transition. Rainier Beach put a greater emphasis on sharing the ball and picking up the pace after halftime, and the results showed.
More Panther passes were tipped, rebounds turned into quick outlet passes and the intensity — emotions already were running high between the teams — rose.
“We didn’t come out focused, but … (at) halftime, we was talking to each other like, you know, ‘What’s going on?’” said Shaqquan Aaron, who led all scorers with 19 points. “We came out here (in the second half) and put a foot on the floor.”
David Crisp added 17 points and Dejounte Murray scored 14 for Rainier Beach.
Sean Gummersall led Seattle Prep with 15 points and Laurence Hicks had 10. Jordan Kitchen, the Panthers’ leading scorer, fouled out with 6:30 left in the game after scoring just six points.