The Vikings had rallied back to within three points inside of two minutes, but a foul and three technical fouls helped Mount Spokane to a 65-60 win.
TACOMA — The Rainier Beach boys basketball team played from behind all night.
They could never get over the hump. There won’t be a 13th state championship game appearance or a bid for a 10th state crown just yet after a late meltdown that negated a big rally.
JT Smith scored 22 points, Tyson Degenhart 19 and Jerry Twenge 17 as second-seeded Mount Spokane knocked the Vikings into the consolation bracket with a 65-60 decision on Friday night in a Class 3A state semifinal at the Tacoma Dome.
Several late calls didn’t help third-seeded Rainier Beach (21-5) and three late technical fouls took the steam out of a late comeback bid after it trailed by 14 points in the second half. The Vikings couldn’t handle the Wildcats’ efficient offense or solve its harassing defense, and in the end, they boiled over in frustration.
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“They were playing great help defense, and we couldn’t get anything in our offense or make our shots,” said Beach junior MarJon Beauchamp, who was seeking his third state title in a row with a third school after winning titles with Nathan Hale and Garfield. “It hurts. I’m usually in the championship, so it’s going to be different. I’m just going to have to go through it.”
The Vikings strung together turnovers and an 11-0 run to get within 57-54, then things got crazy.
Beauchamp, who had 15 of his 19 points after halftime, was issued a technical for his fifth personal foul with 1:10 left after teammate Jamon Kemp was called for a foul. Mount Spokane hit four three throws — two each from Spencer Barrera and Smith — to push the lead back up to 61-54.
“I didn’t even say (anything) to the ref,” Beauchamp said. “He just gave me a technical.”
With 48.6 seconds left the Wildcats (25-1) inbounded the ball and when it was in midair, one of the referees granted a timeout to Mount Spokane, much to the dismay of the Beach bench.
A technical was called on the Vikings’ bench and an incensed coach Mike Bethea baited the officials into another technical when he said, “You can kick me out of here. I don’t give an (expletive).”
Mount Spokane made 2 of 4 free throws this time and the lead was back 63-55. The Wildcats finished with 8-of-10 accuracy from the line in the final 1:10 to keep the Vikings at bay.
Bethea wouldn’t comment after the game.
The Wildcats face 11th-seeded O’Dea (19-8) in the Class 3A title game on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Spokane school has never placed at state.
Beach meets Metro rival Eastside Catholic (24-3) in the third/fifth-place game at 1 p.m. on Saturday.