Saturdays nights 3A Boys Championship title clash between the Rainier Beach Vikings and O’Dea fighting Irish turned out to be nothing but a Beach party.
Beach jumped out to a 12-2 run and never looked back. Simply put the Vikings had their way with the Irish. The Vikings were four of eight from the three point arc and 15-30 from the field resulting in a 43-to21 halftime lead.
The Beach defense was suffocating and caused trials and tribulations for the Irish offense all night long. The Irish made seven field goals and attempted 22 for a 31.8 shooting percentage.
The Vikings were led by the scoring of Nkeil Nelson (26 pts) and defensive prowess of tournament MVP Sam Cunliffe.
” This game started when we lost to them in District and we got together as a team and said that we were not going to lose another,” Cunliffe said after the game. ” Everybody was saying that yesterday was the State Championship and we did not believe that we know today was and we wanted to come out and play like that.”
Play like Champions they did. The Rainier Beach defense was relentless and never gave O’Dea a chance to climb back into the game. The closest’s the Irish came to the Vikings was with 4:08 left in the game and the lead was down to 17 points.
” That was the talk all day long, we wanted to come out to a good start and put them out early,” Beach coach Mike Bethea said after the game. The win gives Bethea eight state championships. Beach had won three state championships before Garfield interrupted that run with last years title win