It didn't matter how far Rainier Beach extended its defense last night against Mater Dei. Taylor King just stepped back farther and farther. King, Mater Dei's 6-foot-7 sophomore...
It didn’t matter how far Rainier Beach extended its defense last night against Mater Dei. Taylor King just stepped back farther and farther.
King, Mater Dei’s 6-foot-7 sophomore who’s already made a verbal commitment to UCLA, turned last night’s marquee matchup at the Les Schwab Hoop Challenge at Seattle Pacific into his personal shooting display.
With a machine-like lefty stroke that’s already drawing comparisons to former NBA star Chris Mullin, King sank 8 of 12 three-pointers and scored 35 points, leading the visiting Monarchs (6-0) from Santa Ana, Calif., to an entertaining 75-72 win over the Vikings (3-2).
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“I was focused. I was really on top of my game tonight,” said King, who added that he practices by shooting about 700 jump shots a day. “This was the number one team in Seattle and we wanted to make a statement.”
King showed his long-range touch from all over the court. A turnaround three-pointer from the right baseline, a straight-on dagger from about 25 feet, several more darts from the left wing, an off-balance floater from the right wing.
With each swish, the crowd buzzed louder and louder.
“To be honest with you, that’s the first time I’ve ever played against a kid that had range like that,” said Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea. “Usually, you want to go ahead and let a kid take a shot five or six or seven feet behind the three-point line. He’s the type of kid you got to pick up at half court.”
Mater Dei showed plenty of other reasons to justify its No. 14 national ranking in USA Today. Point guard starter Mike Gerrity drove fearlessly into the Beach defense for 18 points, and 7-1 sophomore center Alex Jacobson added 13.
For all the good the Monarchs did do, they clearly lacked one thing: an answer for Terrence Williams.
Playing with a torn tendon in his middle finger and clearly bothered by a calf cramp in the second half, the 6-6 Beach guard still blitzed Mater Dei for 29 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, including a beautiful behind-the-back pass in the second quarter to Marcel Pellums for an easy layup.
Ryan Anderson added 16 for Beach.
The game was close throughout, tied at 18, 20, 30, 44 and 52, before Mater Dei pulled away late. Fittingly, King had the ball in his hands at the end of the game. He calmly sank four free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal the victory.
Michael Ko: 206-515-5653 or firstname.lastname@example.org