TACOMA – University put itself in position to pull off the upset.
Matching Rainier Beach athletically trip for trip down the floor, the Titans had a chance as the game clock wore down in the fourth quarter.
But in crunch time, with the outcome much in doubt, there was Anrio Adams.
The Rainier Beach senior had been saddled with foul difficulties for most of the game. He had sat, or rather stood, at the end of the Vikings’ bench for much of the second half.
But with just less than 6 minutes to play, Adams got the tap from coach Mike Bethea and came sprinting to the scorer’s table.
He then proceeded to score seven of his 13 points down the stretch as Rainier Beach finally pulled away for a 61-53 State 3A semifinal victory at the Tacoma Dome.
“They really stepped up their defensive intensity,” University junior Brett Bailey said. “We played hard, yet came up short.”
University will play for third and fifth places at 11:15 a.m. today against Kamiakin. Rainier Beach faces Seattle Prep for the title at 7 p.m.
Bailey put together a solid first half, scoring 14 of his 15 points before the break. Bailey’s effort led the Titans to a surprising 34-26 lead at the half.
The University lead grew to as many as 10 points, 34-24, but Naim Ladd drove the lane and scored for Rainier Beach with 3 seconds left in the second quarter. Ladd’s basket wound up being the start of a 15-4 Vikings run, most of it accomplished with Adams sitting on the bench, and it ultimately gave Rainier Beach its first lead (39-38) since the game was 12-11 with 3:38 left in the first quarter.
With 3:26 to go in the period, Bailey snaked his way into the lane and made an acrobatic layup to give the Titans a lead (13-12) they would hold until the 4:46 mark of the third quarter.
“I know the type of team (University coach) Garrick (Phillips) puts out,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. “They play you tough. They are not going to quit. They are not going to be scared of you. We told the guys, no matter what happens, ‘Stay the course.’ ”
Even without their Kansas University-bound star for much of the half, Rainier Beach managed to forge a 47-42 lead after three quarters. It was 50-49 after Zach Bruce made 1 of 2 free throws for University with 4:47 left in the game.
The free-throw line, though, was the only place the Titans could score from during the final 8 minutes. U-Hi made just one field goal the entire quarter, while hitting 9 of 14 free throws.
“They pushed us out of our comfort zone,” Phillips said. “We didn’t earn quality shots. We’ve always been the aggressor. We don’t see the shot clock in single digits very often.”
Jared Miller joined Bailey with 15 points for U-Hi. Will Dorsey led the Vikings with 16 points and six rebounds.
Prairie 55, University 41: University had designs on shocking the world of Washington high school girls basketball. Very quickly, the Prairie Falcons made sure things would go much more to form.
The Falcons from Brush Prairie (near Vancouver, Wash.) scored the game’s first seven points, extended their advantage to double-digits less than two minutes into the second quarter and strolled into the Class 3A state championship basketball game with a 55-41 victory over the Titans on Friday at the Tacoma Dome.
Prairie (26-1) will face Franklin (24-3) at 9 p.m. on Saturday. University (17-8) gets a shot at third place at 1 p.m. against Cleveland.
“We’ll feel better tomorrow,” a resigned University coach Mark Stinson said. “We’ll go to bed, get up and play again.”
Playing in the late game for the second consecutive night, University couldn’t do defensively against the state’s top-ranked team what it was able to accomplish a night earlier against Seattle Prep. The Titans held Prep without a field goal in the first quarter of their quarterfinal victory on Thursday.
By contrast, Prairie’s Jackie Lanz made the Falcons’ first shot, with 7 minutes, 38 seconds to play in the first quarter. Heather Corral scored 40 seconds later and Megan Lindsley buried a 3-pointer to make it 7-0.
Hallie Gennett finally got the Titans on the scoreboard with a 3-pointer more than four minutes into the game. University’s shooting woes didn’t improve much from there, however.
The Titans made only six of 23 shots in the first half (26 percent).
“I think we came out too confident tonight,” Gennett said. “We weren’t prepared.”
Prairie opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run that effectively put this one out of reach. The Falcon burst included 3-pointers from four different players.
“When their sixth different player made a 3, I knew it was going to be tough,” Stinson said. “I don’t know if it actually was six, but you get what I mean.”
In reality, only five Falcons made 3-pointers. Prairie made nine of them as a team.