After three free throws by Tre Anderson tied the game and sent it into overtime, Garfield emerges with a state title after beating Rainier Beach 72-63.
TACOMA — From egos to champions is the story of Garfield’s boys basketball season.
Some of the area’s top players descended on the Central District school — whether from transfer or move — to play for first-year coach Brandon Roy, an alum with his own tale of how he became leader of the Bulldogs, returning to his high school after getting shot three times in the offseason.
So much talent, everyone wanted to be the star.
All had a chance in the Class 3A state-tournament run. Garfield defeated Rainier Beach 72-63 in overtime Saturday night for its first championship since 2015. Point guards Pierre Crockrell Jr. and Eddie Turner had 19 points each to lead the Bulldogs (28-1).
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“At the beginning of the year, we weren’t a team,” said Crockrell, a junior. “Everyone wants to be The Man. We have 13 superstars on our team, but not every night is going to be your night. We came together after the third game of the season and said to win state, we have to play as a team and we did that. (Saturday) we weren’t going to take a loss for an answer.”
Garfield led for majority of the game and was up 59-56 with 6.5 seconds left in regulation. A foul was called as Rainier Beach senior Tre Anderson attempted a three-pointer, putting him on the line for three free throws with two seconds on the clock.
Anderson took his time and sank each as the screams in the Tacoma Dome reached a fever pitch.
“It was hope,” Beach senior Freddy Roberson said of watching the three shots drop in the hoop. “But it just went wrong in the end.”
The game was forced into overtime, tied at 59, and Beach coach Mike Bethea felt the calls aided Garfield outscoring Beach 13-4 in extra play.
“The kids didn’t decide that game,” Bethea said.
Said Roy: “I thought (the officiating) was off in the second half. The third quarter was really choppy … that last call, I didn’t think he was shooting. I wanted to get upset, but I was thinking we could still win this game.”
Anderson led Beach with 27 points while senior Kevin Porter Jr., a USC commit, had 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Immediately as the final horn sounded, a scuffle happened on the court where Roy thought a player was struck. Tacoma police took statements from fans and players but did not comment on who asked for police involvement.
Saturday was the third meeting of the season between the Metro League rivals. The Vikings suffered their worst loss in two decades (100-72) in January to Garfield and moved within 72-68 in a loss to the Bulldogs for the league-tournament title in February.
Roy, Fuller and sophomore MarJon Beachamp were part of Nathan Hale’s Class 3A title team last year. Hale (29-0) was led by Michael Porter Jr., the top recruit in the nation now at Missouri, and was the consensus national champion, too.
“I thought I stole one from them last year,” said Roy, who missed three chances as a player to win a title for Garfield, which has won 14 state boys basketball titles. “I’m happy to go in there (school) Monday and go, ‘Here is that state championship I promised you in (1999-2002).’ ”
• First team: MVP, Erik Stevenson, Timberline; Kevin Porter Jr., Rainier Beach; Tre Anderson, Rainier Beach; Pierre Cockrell Jr., Garfield; Emmett Linton III, Lincoln.
• Second team: Brock Mackenzie, Eastside Catholic; Shaw Anderson, Kelso; Emmitt Matthews Jr., Wilson; Eddie Turner, Garfield; Cal Hansen, O’Dea.