Garfield hung tough until the fourth quarter against top-ranked Rainier Beach. But the Vikings won the rematch of last year's state title game, 74-52.
MarJon Beauchamp knew he wasn’t going to get a warm welcome.
The former Garfield Bulldog returned to face his former teammates for the first time in a Rainier Beach uniform along with fellow Bulldog transfer Jamon Kemp. And it was the first meeting between the schools since Beauchamp and Kemp led the Bulldogs to an overtime win over the Vikings in last year’s Class 3A state title game.
Beauchamp, a junior ranked No. 28 in the ESPN 60 for the Class of 2020, tallied 11 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, and Kemp added 17 points as top-ranked Rainier Beach pulled away late for a 74-52 victory on Friday night in a Metro League rivalry game.
Both teams were in each other’s faces all night, and most of it was not friendly.
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“With a rivalry game, it’s going to get like that, especially with me and Jamon transferring, so all the hate was towards us,” said Beauchamp after the physical, chippy game that featured eight technical foul calls. “That caused it to be like that a little bit, and they wanted to beat us. They were telling us we were overrated.
“They were saying things like ‘Traitor.’ I didn’t let it affect me.”
The Vikings (9-1, 9-0 Metro) led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but with 2:16 left in the third quarter Garfield (9-4, 6-4) had pulled even at 36-36 on a driving basket from Vatrevyon Garner.
From there, the Bulldogs only saw frustration as Beach took control 52-42 lead with a 16-6 surge, which was capped with an 11-3 run. Garfield got within 55-46, but the Vikings closed out the game on 19-6 burst, one that saw Garfield coach Jay’Von Nickens pick up his second technical foul and exit the gym with 1 minute, 38 seconds remaining.
By that time, Beach was having a ball with a 69-48 lead. On one sequence, when the Vikings led 55-46, John Hart sank six free throws after a personal foul and two technicals.
Senior Micah Jessie led Garfield with 16 points and freshman Koren Johnson and senior Caleb Anglin added nine points apiece.
Beauchamp, who went to Nathan Hale as a freshman, said it was odd to come back to his old gym in the orange and blue of Beach. He said Garfield’s frustration wasn’t a surprise.
“When they started losing bad, they’re going to get mad,” Beauchamp said. “That’s what they usually do. This was very personal for me. It got me amped up a lot, all the talk.”
Beach, ranked No. 15 by USA Today and No. 24 in the MaxPreps.com Xcellent 25 nationally, sank 9 of 12 free throws in the final 3:28 to finish off the Bulldogs.
The Vikings lost three times to Garfield last season, closing the season with a 72-63 overtime defeat to the Bulldogs in the Class 3A state title game. Beach entered the contest having lost the last four to Garfield, with its last win two seasons ago 66-57 in the SeaKing District tournament on Feb. 14, 2017.
Garfield had won seven consecutive games, including three successive league wins over O’Dea 64-56 last Friday, Lakeside 73-44 Saturday and Bainbridge 62-43 on Tuesday.