Rainier Beach Wins State, Clinches Berth to NY for National Title
By Colin Caruso
-In this their fourth meeting on the season, the undefeated Rainier Beach Vikings squared off with the Eastside Catholic Crusaders for the 3A boys state title. Only one of the three previous games was close, the Metro final which resulted in a 68-65 Beach win.
Eastside started the game on a 7-0 run, with four points coming from junior Matisse Thybulle. His length gave the Vikings issues all evening. Beach needed an answer and it came in the form of David Crisp, who scored the Vikings first eight points. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Crisp picked up his third foul in the first quarter and was forced to sit the remainder of the half. The teams were tied at 11 going into the second.
With Crisp on the bench for the Vikings, the Crusaders gathered the momentum in the second quarter. Mandrell Worthy led all scorers in the first half with 14 points, and the Crusaders took a 26-21 lead into halftime.
Rainier Beach was out of the locker room five minutes before the Crusaders, sitting on the bench and patiently waiting to start their halftime shooting. Whatever coach Bethea mentioned to them in their brief halftime session worked; they started the half on a 10-3 run. Eastside struggled offensively in the third, resorting to one on one offense, not running sets, and not battling for offensive rebounds. The Vikings took a two point lead into
The two point lead turned into a four point deficit for the Vikings in less than two minutes in the beginning of the final quarter. A quick 6-0 run put the Crusaders on top and brought their crowd back in the game. But Shaqquan Aaron wouldn’t let the Vikings go quietly. He scored six straight to put the Vikings back up by two. A Mandrell Worthy jumper for the Crusaders tied the game at 43 with less than two minutes remaining. Djuan Piper for the Vikings converted a minute later on a dribble drive, answered by Thybulle with his own dribble drive with 40 seconds remaining. Piper answered the call again for the Vikings, hitting a mid-range jumper with 5.1 seconds on the clock.
After the made basket, the Crusaders inbounded from their own baseline. Worthy was stripped of the ball and the Vikings picked it up as the clock struck 0:00, winning their third state title in a row. Rainier Beach will take a couple of weeks off then travel to New York to play for the national title. Good luck to the Vikings!
Mandrell Worthy – 21 points, 5 rebounds
Ian Christie – 1 point, 17 rebounds
Shaqquan Aaron – 22 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
Elijah Foster – 6 points, 12 rebounds