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Originally published January 19, 2015 at 10:06 PM | Page modified January 20, 2015 at 8:17 PM

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Prep boys basketball: Garfield 84, Rainier Beach 67

Behind Alphonso Anderson’s masterful performance, Garfield takes down No. 1 team in Class 3A.

Seattle Times staff reporter


The scene was set for one of the biggest regular-season matchups of the season.

No. 1 Rainier Beach at No. 2 Garfield in a Metro League showdown, the nightcap of the Unity Hoop Showcase. Fans were turned away at the door because the gymnasium was so full. People sat in the aisles to watch the star-studded game. Electricity rippled through the crowd.

And in front of everyone, Alphonso Anderson stole the show.

Rainier Beach had no answer for the 6-foot-6 Anderson, who powered Garfield to an 84-67 win behind a 35-point and 19-rebound effort. It was the Vikings’ first loss to an in-state opponent since they suffered a defeat to Lakeside in the 2013 district tournament.

“They didn’t have nobody that could guard me,” Anderson said. “I should dominate every game like that. There’s no reason to take [a game] off. Play every game like it’s Beach.”

Rainier Beach didn’t have a forward who could match up with Anderson inside, and the junior punished the Vikings with an array of post moves, second-chance opportunities and dribble drives from the wing. He even hit a three-pointer to ignite Garfield’s final push.

Garfield’s game plan was to utilize the mismatch, and Anderson had a productive first half. But it was his 21 second-half points that made the difference. None may have been bigger than his lone bucket from beyond the arc.

Despite taking control of the game midway through the third, the Bulldogs were unable to put any separation between them and the Vikings. To the delight of much of the standing-room only crowd, though, Anderson hit a corner three-pointer just before the end of the quarter to give Garfield a 61-53 lead.

The Bulldogs pushed the advantage to as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter and the Vikings never really threatened.

“It’s real fun, it’s not every day you get to see a game like that,” said Garfield sophomore Jaylen Nowell, who finished with 24 points.

Rainier Beach previously lost a game to Central Catholic (Ore.) in the Les Schwab Invitational in December and to St. Benedict’s Prep (New Jersey) on Saturday in Washington D.C. The Vikings also lost a game in a national tournament after last season.

“They were ranked ahead of us and all that, so I guess it was bigger,” Anderson said of the game. “But we knew we were the big dogs.”

Garfield jumped to a quick 8-1 lead, but Shadeed Shabazz closed out the first quarter with a strong offensive performance to get the Vikings back in the contest. Shabazz scored 10 points in the quarter, including a pair of three-pointers. He finished with a team-high 21 points, and Dejounte Murray added 16, but Rainier Beach sorely missed injured wing Keith Smith. Point guard Ivy Smith contributed 14 points, but ended up fouling out midway through the fourth.

Despite the big win, Garfield coach Ed Haskins emphasized the importance to keep it in perspective.

“We’re having a lot of fun, but we’re very businesslike,” Haskins said.

Josh Liebeskind:

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