TACOMA — Todd Beamer wasn’t expected to be playing in a loser-out Class 4A high-school girls basketball game Wednesday morning at the Tacoma Dome.
But that is where the Titans found themselves after suffering a 48-47 loss to Union in a regional game Saturday, their first defeat after 20 consecutive wins. Because of that, the season was on the line for the team from Federal Way, ranked No. 2 in the WIAA’s RPI rankings.
Pressure? What pressure? Beamer took control early against No. 10 Bellarmine Prep 57-41, earning a spot in Thursday’s quarterfinals against top-seeded and undefeated Woodinville (25-0). The game starts at 10:30 a.m.
The Titans (24-3) were ready Wednesday morning, having a much easier time against Bellarmine Prep than they did two weeks ago in a 40-38 win over the Lions in the district semifinals.
“We knew what was at stake,” said Beamer coach Corey Alexander. “Last week was a tough loss against Union, but the girls just dialed in at practice, and we had the best practices we’ve had all year.”
The best players need to step up in the big games, and that is what Beamer senior guard Aaliyah Alexander, the team’s top scorer at 17.3 points per game did. She had a game-high 19 points and nine rebounds despite missing part of the third quarter after getting elbowed in the nose.
“My teammates are counting on me and my coaches are counting on me, so I kind of took the team on my back,” said Aaliyah Alexander, the coach’s daughter.
With Beamer ahead 13-10 late in the first quarter, she made a three-pointer to end the period and started the second quarter with another basket, the beginning of a 10-0 run.
After Bellarmine Prep scored the final eight points of the second half to pull to 27-20, Alexander got Beamer going in the second half. She scored on the Titans’ first possession of the third quarter, then assisted on the next basket, keying a 6-0 run that put the Titans comfortably ahead again at 33-20.
Beamer was never threatened thereafter, but the Titans did go through some tense moments when Alexander was hit in the nose driving for a layup and began bleeding. That knocked her out of the game, and she went briefly back to the locker room.
“It’s fine,” the Eastern Washington University commit said. “I got elbowed in the nose, but I am used to it.”
She returned to the game in the fourth quarter, and she will certainly be needed against Woodinville in a matchup that would be title-game worthy.
Beamer played Woodinville in its season opener and lost 60-36. But the Titans are confident they can pull off an upset.
“We just have to play team basketball, move the basketball and make them play defense,” Corey Alexander said. “We’re up for the challenge. They put their shoes on the same way we do. It should be a good game.”
Senior guard Sharay Trotter added 13 points and six rebounds for Beamer. Bellarmine Prep (20-6) was led by Julia Bordeaux’s 16 points and six rebounds.