AUBURN — Senior Aaliyah Alexander knows that she and her Todd Beamer High girls basketball teammates could’ve made things easier for a Class 4A state title run next week.
The Titans wanted to avoid the side of the bracket feature top-ranked, undefeated Woodinville, dwindling their chances of bringing home the school’s first state championship in the sport.
Alexander did all she could with 21 points to make that road easier, but Beamer, ranked No. 2 in the Class 4A RPI, stumbled down the stretch and fell to No. 7 Union of Vancouver 48-47 on Friday night in the state regional round at Auburn Mountainview High School.
Alexander, an Eastern Washington University commit, would have liked to have had two more points as her final shot from about eight feet, surrounded by a trio of Union defenders, was long.
“We just didn’t execute that last play,” Alexander said after her team had its 20-game winning streak halted. “I didn’t make it. The goal was for Halo (Parks) to come set a screen and then attack and draw the foul, but I didn’t get the foul.”
Said Corey Alexander, Beamer’s coach and Aaliyah’s father: “Union has great players who can finish, but we did them a favor by putting them on the free-throw line and they knocked them down. Of course, we thought the last play was a foul, but it shouldn’t have come down to that.”
The hard-fought game saw two turnovers in the final 5.6 seconds. Beamer’s Najahia Forks drove the lane only to have referees rule the ball went off her and out of bounds. On Union’s ensuing inbounds play, Mason Oberg received the ball near the end line but under pressure fell out of bounds with 4.2 seconds to go, giving one last chance to Beamer.
“We just starting fouling too much, and they were knocking down their free throws,” Alexander said of Union, which hit 10 off 11 foul shots in the fourth quarter.
Union (20-5) moves on to Thursday’s state quarterfinals at 2 p.m. in the Tacoma Dome.
Beamer (23-3) is still alive, but it faces a Wednesday loser-out, first-round game versus the winner of Saturday’s Sunnyside (14-7) vs. Bellarmine Prep (19-5) regional game.
“We’ve just got it really hard now,” said Aaliyah Alexander, who had 10 of her 21 points in the third quarter. “Woodinville’s in our bracket now. We wanted to not see them until the very end, that’s why we were trying to win this game. It was just really tough for us to score.”
Union got its winning points with 31 seconds left in the game when Lewis sank two free throws to put her team ahead 48-47. Sharay Trotter (13 points) had given Beamer a 47-46 edge with 1:15 on the clock on a drive and shot off the glass.
Beamer topped Union 45-38 last Saturday to claim the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district title as Aaliyah Alexander scored 22 points.
Lolo Weatherspoon led Union with 14 points, including nine in the first half.
“We let this one go, but we’re definitely just going to focus on the next game now,” Alexander said.