TACOMA — It looked like a great matchup on paper — the top two Class 4A girls basketball teams in the state by RPI rankings — and it certainly didn’t disappoint on the court.
Todd Beamer, ranked No. 2, had heart and resilience. Top-ranked Woodinville had that too, but they also had Mia Hughes, and that was the difference.
Hughes scored 34 points, including the biggest basket of the game in the final minute, leading the Falcons to a 57-50 victory over Beamer on Thursday morning in the quarterfinals of the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.
“It could have gone either way, but we made a few plays in the end,” said Woodinville coach Scott Bullock, whose team improved to 27-0. “And Mia was sensational under the bucket.”
Bullock was dead on with both assessments. After Aliyah Alexander pulled Beamer to 51-50 with a pair of free throws with 39 seconds left, the Titans put on a full-court press. Woodinville struggled to break it, but eventually did and when Hughes got the ball, she went to the hoop and laid it in. She was fouled on the play and made the free throw to make it a two-possession game.
When Beamer turned it over, Woodinville could finally relax a bit.
Woodinville will face Glacier Peak, a team it beat in overtime 62-57 two weeks ago in the Wes-King District title game in Friday’s semifinals at 3:45 p.m. Beamer (24-4) plays Chiawana (23-5) in a consolation bracket game at 9 a.m.
Woodinville and Todd Beamer certainly played like the top teams in the state Thursday. The Falcons defeated Todd Beamer 60-36 in the first game of the season for both teams, but it became apparent early that this game would be nothing like that.
Beamer led most of the first half, with its biggest lead coming at 20-13 early in the second quarter. The Falcons responded with an 8-0 run to take the lead, but the Titans led 25-24 at halftime.
That led to a taut third quarter in which Beamer took a 33-28 advantage, but Woodinville answered with a 9-0 run to regain the lead, then led 43-39 going into the fourth quarter.
Hughes, a 5-foot-10 junior, had Woodinville’s final 10 points of the third quarter as Beamer could not stop her from getting rebounds and scoring inside.
After Beamer tied the score at 43, Hughes scored the game’s next six points and it seemed like Woodinville was in control. But a pair of free throws and a three-pointer by Halo Parks pulled Beamer to 49-48. When Woodinville turned it over, Parks shot a three-pointer that would have given Beamer a lead.
But she missed, and after the teams traded a pair of free throws, Hughes made the big bucket that helped seal it, giving her 21 points in the second half. Her 34 points were two off her career high. She was 13 of 18 from the field and also had 11 rebounds.
“In the third quarter, no one could really score, so I had to step up and put the buckets in,” Hughes said. “Defensive-wise we were playing good, but offensive-wise, I just had to take care of it, I guess.”
It didn’t surprise Bullock that Hughes did.
“She has a heart like no one else I have ever coached,” he said. “She is so competitive and so determined.”
Alexander had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Beamer, and Sharay Trotter added 16 points.