Foster, a 6-foot-7 junior, had his second-biggest game of the year with 17 points to lead the Vikings to a 60-52 win.
TACOMA — Rainier Beach’s focus all season has centered on winning the state tournament.
The Vikings won the Class 3A state title a year ago and returned a team certainly capable of doing it again. Beach knew it. Everyone knew it.
In the quarterfinals of the 3A state tournament Thursday, Beach’s bid for a repeat got off to a slow start before a quick, efficient finish. The second-ranked Vikings put away No. 10 Seattle Prep 60-52 and will play rival Franklin in the semifinals Friday.
“We just came out lethargic,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. “You know how kids are in the first game of state — you don’t know what you’re going to get. But we got a wake-up call.”
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The spark came from Elijah Foster, a 6-foot-7 junior whom Bethea has pushed and prodded all season. Foster finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, including 14 points and seven rebounds after halftime.
Beach (23-4) went on a 14-2 run in the third quarter, and Foster powered much of it.
“I’ve been getting on Elijah all year long,” Bethea said. “I just told him, ‘Honestly, moves-wise and with a nice big body, you should dominate. And you’re just not there. If you get a double-double every game in state, we can do it.’ So, one down, two to go.”
Foster’s point total was his second-highest this season.
“I felt like I needed to do something because we were just kind of slow,” he said. “I just didn’t want to lose.”
Prep (20-8) held a two-point halftime lead as the Panthers slowed the pace and forced Beach into shooting jumpers. Beach shot 33 percent in the first half compared to Prep’s 47 percent.
D.J. Fenner, the area’s second-leading scorer, had 10 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, and Prep led by as many as nine.
But Beach went on a 14-2 run to start the third quarter. While Prep would get within five late, the Vikings never lost control.
“The storm we thought we’d have to weather with Beach was going to be the start of the game,” said Prep coach Mike Kelly. “But it really turned out to be the third quarter.”
Naim Ladd added 11 points off the bench for Beach, while Will Dorsey was the most valuable player according to Bethea because he controlled the tempo.
Franklin 78, Timberline 55
Franklin used a big second half to run by Timberline of Lacey in the team’s 3A quarterfinal matchup.
The Quakers led by just five at halftime — and trailed in the second quarter — but blew the game open in the third quarter. The Quakers used a 20-7 run to build an 18-point lead, and that would only grow.
Eugene Artison, Franklin’s 6-foot-8 center, scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Patrick Ball, the team’s leading scorer, added 16 points and nine rebounds.
Franklin has been a hard-to-figure team this season, but the Quakers played a crisp second half against Stanwood at regionals on Saturday and did so again against Timberline.
Donaven Dorsey, a 6-foot-6 junior for Timberline who is receiving Division I interest, scored 30 points, including 18 in the first half.
Lincoln 68, Mountlake Terrace 47
The No. 3 Lincoln Abes of Tacoma proved to be too much for the No. 6 Mountlake Terrace Hawks, as senior forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher had 29 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to lead the Abes on Thursday in the 3A state quarterfinals.
“This is my senior year,” Fletcher said. “I want this so bad.”
With the Hawks shooting just 30 percent from the field, the Abes opened up a 15-point lead by halftime, 36-21. Senior guard LaTravion Satterwhite started an 11-5 run over the last 4 ½ minutes of the second quarter with a lean-in bank shot to give the Abes a 27-16 lead.
As Lincoln coach Aubrey Shelton sees it, this is a team clicking on all cylinders.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” Shelton said. “The last five games have been our best five games, and we keep playing better and better.”
Try as they might, the Hawks could not avenge a 60-59 loss to the Abes on Dec. 8, a game in which Mountlake Terrace led by nine at halftime.
The Abes advance to face Lakeside at 9 p.m. on Friday. The Hawks drop to the losers bracket and will face University on Friday at 2 p.m.
Lakeside 69, University 48
The No. 1 Lakeside Lions got a big contribution from one unlikely source and one familiar one to cruise past the No. 9 University Titans on Thursday in the 3A state quarterfinals.
Peter French, the Lions’ seven-foot senior forward, finished with 18 points, two more than his previous season-high. Matthew Poplawski, the Lions’ 5-foot-11 senior sparkplug had 11 points, including a trio of three-pointers.
The Lions built a 40-23 lead at halftime despite getting just one point from leading scorer Tramaine Isabell. Isabell finished with five points.
University’s Brett Bailey, a San Diego signee, finished with 13 points, 10 below his season average.