The Vikings, who also played a tournament in Springfield, Mo., lost to the Democrats 65-59 at the MLK Classic.
PORTLAND — A late Jefferson surge and too many turnovers doomed the Rainier Beach Vikings on the road Monday night in a 65-59 loss to the Democrats in the MLK Classic at Portland State University.
The Vikings, who trailed 38-30 at the half, went on an 11-0 run in the third quarter to take the lead, but the Democrats, the third-ranked Class 6A team in Oregon, forced five turnovers in the final frame and started making foul shots to seal the win. In all, the Vikings, the top-ranked Class 3A team in Washington, turned it over 16 times to Jefferson’s 12.
“We had a lot of opportunities to take a lead, but when you turn over the ball, you can’t succeed and win the game like that,” Rainier Beach assistant coach David King said. “We just didn’t execute.”
It looked as if the Vikings, last year’s Class 3A state runner-up, were going to come alive after Micah Monroe soared through the air and threw down a ferocious one-handed transition dunk with 3:26 left in the third quarter for a 44-38 lead. It capped the big run and ignited the bench, but the Democrats (11-5) responded with a flurry of their own, and it was punctuated by a Lamar Washington three-pointer with 17 seconds left to tie it at 49-49.
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By the end of the game, Rainier Beach held a 49-44 rebounding advantage, but that was not the case in the first half. Jefferson out-hustled the Vikings and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds in the half, and against a team as explosive as the Democrats, that is not a good thing.
“We just had to find a body and box out,” King said. “(Jefferson) had two 6-9 guys, (and) that’s what they were in there to do. We just had to use a little finesse and box out, and find a way.”
The teams traded leads early in the fourth quarter, but Jefferson took control late. Rainier Beach star MarJon Beauchamp hit a 16-foot jumper with 5:00 left to give the Vikings a 55-54 lead, but that was the last lead for them.
Kenny Curtis hit a pair of foul shots to bring the Vikings back to a 57-57 tie with 3:17 left, but the Democrats hit consecutive buckets to take the lead for good. Jefferson senior guard Marcus Tsohonis, who has verbally committed to the Washington Huskies, scored a transition layup with 2:20 left to give the Democrats a 61-57 lead. Tsohonis finished with a game-high 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting.
Beauchamp finished with a team-high 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting and eight rebounds with six assists. He did, however, commit a game-high six turnovers.
The Vikings )11-4) can’t dwell on the loss very long. They get back into Metro League play Tuesday at Ingraham, and it’ll be the Vikings’ sixth game in the past week. They had a three-game stretch at the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo., that ended Saturday. They played Nathan Hale last Tuesday.
King said everyone is going to think about the loss, but they’ve got to get over it quickly to protect their unblemished 10-0 Metro mark.
“We’re gonna rest our legs, and get ready for school tomorrow,” King said. “It’s next man up, and yeah we might have some tired legs, but that’s why you have a team.”
Garrett finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting and six rebounds for Rainier Beach. The Vikings shot 20-for-57, 4-for-14 from three-point range, and 15-for-20 from the foul line. Jefferson was 22-for-60 overall, 7-for-18 from three-point range, and 14-for-27 from the foul line. Jefferson blocked eight shots and had seven steals.