Rainier Beach (Seattle)
added to its illustrious championship history in Washington on Saturday night, beating Metro League rival Eastside Catholic (Sammamish)
47-45 in a dramatic Class 3A state title game.
Senior wing Dujaun Piper
hit a shot with under five seconds to go, breaking a late-game tie and giving the Vikings their fourth win over the Crusaders this season. Piper finished with six points and eight rebounds.
Louisville-bound Shaqquan Aaron
led the Vikings with 22 points while Washington commitment David Crisp
added 10.Mandrell Worthy
, one of Washington's top juniors, led Eastside Catholic with 21 points and five rebounds.
It was the third consecutive state crown for Rainier Beach (29-0) and eighth since 1988.
Saturday's victory won't close the book on the 2013-14 campaign for the South Seattle powerhouse. The Vikings are expected to join seven other teams April 3-5 in New York for the Dick's Sporting Goods High School National Tournament.
Other teams expected to be in the field include No. 2 Montverde Academy (Fla.)
, No. 4 Sagemont (Weston, Fla.)
, No. 5 Northside Christian Academy (Charlotte, N.C.)
, No. 7 La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)
, No. 12 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
, No. 14 Huntington St. Joseph Prep (W.Va.)
and No. 16 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
Ranked No. 3 nationally by MaxPreps, Rainier Beach will go down as one of the most dominant teams in state history. The Vikings scored 100 points or more nine times and averaged 89.5 points per game.
In 23 games against in-state opponents entering Saturday, Beach rolled by an average margin of 35.6 points per game. Fifteen of those victories came by 30 points or more, including previous thrashings of Eastside Catholic by 30 and 40 points.
The Vikings also distinguished themselves outside of Washington. Rainier Beach rolled to the title at the Les Schwab Invitational in December, beating No. 14 Whitney Young (Chicago)
in the semifinals and No. 15 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
by 28 in the championship game.
There was also a win over Washington Catholic Athletic Conference power Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.)
at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts.
In addition to the current run of three in a row, the Vikings won state titles in 1988, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2008. The last six have all come under head coach Mike Bethea.
The program is viewed as a pipeline to major college basketball and even the NBA with names like Doug Christie, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart and Terrence Williams putting on the Rainier Beach uniform during its 26-year run of dominance.