The Raiders beat Rainier Beach in a Class 3A regional, joining Garfield and West Seattle in the second round of the Class 3A state tournament.
Rainier Beach didn’t make it easy.
For the second time in eight days the Vikings pushed Nathan Hale to the brink, leading the top-ranked team in the nation for most of the way.
But led by McDonald’s All-American Michael Porter Jr.’s 39 points, the No. 1 Raiders battled back and remained undefeated with an 80-71 victory in a Class 3A regional game at Bellevue College on Saturday night.
“It’s weird to have to play a team back-to-back times, especially, a team as good as Rainier Beach,” said Nathan Hale coach Brandon Roy. “But that’s the way it is. We just fought through tonight. I thought our guys came out a little sluggish, but we did a great job fighting through.”
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Nathan Hale had to battle back after Rainier Beach scored 17 consecutive points in a run that lasted from the first to second quarter, giving the Vikings an 11-point lead over Nathan Hale (26-0).
“The effort was there, the execution was lacking,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. “And that’s what killed us tonight. … They’re a great team, no taking that away from them. But we can’t beat ourselves. And we had those little stretches where we just kind of go to sleep. We had a stretch where we had four straight turnovers.”
But the Raiders closed the gap to four at halftime, with Porter Jr. — who also grabbed 20 rebounds — netting eight points in the second quarter, and overtook Rainier Beach for good with one minute left in the third quarter.
“We did a really good job getting ourselves going towards the end of the first half,” Roy said, “and in the second half we were able to play much better.”
P.J. Fuller scored 16 points and Jontay Porter added 12 points and eight rebounds for Nathan Hale, which secured a spot in the state quarterfinals. Rainier Beach plays Bellevue in a loser-out game at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome.
“At this point in the season we’re playing against teams that have won championships,” Roy said. “They have the pedigree, so we know it’s not going to be easy. We’re trying to settle in and understand, ‘Hey, even if teams bring their best, if we can bring ours, then we give ourselves a chance to win.’ ”
It was the third meeting between the teams this season, with Nathan Hale also winning the previous two. The last game was an 88-84 victory for the Raiders in the Class 3A SeaKing District championship exactly one week before Saturday’s night’s showdown.
Kahlil Shabazz led the way for No. 8 Rainier Beach (20-8) with 24 points and eight steals. Kevin Porter netted 14 points and 10 rebounds, and N’Keil Nelson finished with 18 points for the Vikings.
“There’s no time to hang your head or be upset now,” Bethea said. “… It’s about me pumping you up so that we can make a run. We know what it takes and now it’s just a matter of us carrying it out and executing it.”
Garfield star Jaylen Nowell scored 32 points — 24 in the second half — to help the No. 2 Bulldogs come from behind and top No. 7 Stanwood 83-76.
J’Raan Brooks added 18 points and 11 rebounds for Garfield (21-5), which advances to the Class 3A state quarterfinals with the victory.
Stanwood (21-3) was led by Quinton Borseth (18 points) and AJ Martinka (16). The Spartans will face Shorecrest for the third time this season in a loser-out game at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome. The two teams have split the previous meetings.
Nate Pryor scored 21 points, Abdullahi Mohamed netted 12 and Yusuf Mohamed added 10 as No. 3 West Seattle (20-6) topped Timberline 60-38.
The win sends the Wildcats to the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament.
Junior Erik Stevenson had 10 points to lead No. 6 Timberline (18-7), which will play Seattle Prep in a loser-out game at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday in the Tacoma Dome.