Garfield Knocks Off Reigning Champs Beach

DSC_0666

Garfield Knocks Off Reigning Champs Beach
By Steve Dion

Thursday- March 2nd 2017 Boys 3A Hardwood Classic
Tacoma Dome 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Rainier Beach 11 15 12 20 58
Garfield 10 19 11 19 59

DSC_0680

Garfield Bulldogs

For the fourth time this season, legendary Washington hoops programs Garfield & Rainier Beach squared off. To say these teams are familiar with eachother is an understatement. The previous three meetings this season all led up to this decisive night as the winner would punch its ticket to semifinal Friday of the Hardwood Classic.

The star guard matchup of Kevin Porter Jr. for Beach and Jaylen Nowell of Garfield presented itself without surprise as the two matched buckets throughout the first two frames. They accounted for 17 and 16 points respectively in the first half alone. Garfield who was without utility man Curtis Walker saw increased minutes by Jalani Howard and Mekhi Metcalf to fill the void. The Bulldogs who lead the season series 2-1 led by three with sixteen minutes separating themselves from another trip to the state semis.

Drama grew quickly in the third quarter with every successive possession becoming more critical than the previous. Jaylen Nowell continued to attack the cup with ferocity and was aided by growing contributions by his fellow guards Daejon Davis & Eddie Turner who both scored in double figures. This contributed to a lead that continued to grow into the late stages of the fourth quarter. With a ten point deficit and under three to go, Beach needed stops.

The battle-tested Viks were able to turn the ball over multiple times to draw the game within one possession and ten seconds to go. Kevin Porter Jr. and Tijohn Rodde figured heavily into the comeback with N’Keil Nelson & Khalil Shabazz fouled out. Jaylen Nowell went to the line to shoot a pair of free throw which he converted on both attempts. Rainier Beach had one final attempt to hit a game-tying 3-pointer, but the shot fell short and Garfield breathes a massive sigh of relief as they head into semifinal Friday.

The Final Score
Garfield 59, Rainier Beach 58

Top Performers:
Garfield
Jaylen Nowell- 24 points, 5 rebounds

Rainier Beach
Kevin Porter Jr.- 28 points, 13 rebounds