Updated Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Technically, there was nothing on the line when Rainier Beach and Bothell met on Monday. No state championship trophy, no league race yet to be decided, no state rankings.
But if you didn't know any better, you would have thought all elements were in play at the King Holiday Hoopfest at Brougham Pavilion.
In the biggest matchup of the boys basketball regular season, it ended just the way everyone thought — and hoped — it would: With one shot deciding whether the game ended or continued.
Rainier Beach, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, survived a furious rally in the final minutes from Bothell, the No. 1 team in 4A, for a 66-63 win in front of an overflow crowd of more than 2,500.
"We needed this one," Rainier Beach senior Will Dorsey said. "It showed us that we could play together through trials and tribulations. We've gone through it: the good, the bad and the ugly. Right now it's good, and that's the best thing."
Say this about Rainier Beach (14-3): The Vikings have a way of making things interesting.
Marquis Davis' jumper with 6:48 left put Beach up 15. Beach still led by 11 with as little as two minutes left, and some in attendance slowly started exiting the arena.
Instead, Bothell (15-1) used the final two minutes to roar right back. Zach LaVine scored eight points in the final two minutes to get Bothell within two with 19 seconds left.
But LaVine missed two guarded, off-balance three-pointers in the final 17 seconds, including one as the buzzer sounded. LaVine finished with 34 points, despite waking up with a 103-degree fever Monday morning.
"The bottom line is: We played a good, quality team, and regardless of what happened down the stretch, my guys pulled it out and found a way to win," Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea said. "That's the important thing. You're talking about a team that could possibly win state on the 4A side. You're talking about a big-time player. But we found a way."
The Vikings were led by two players who often go unmentioned but have a knack for showing up in big moments.
Jordan King, a developing senior, had 14 points and 12 rebounds. He made 4 of 5 shots and all six of his free throws, and it was the belief of some close to the Beach program that he was the difference-maker.
"Jordan King is probably the best-kept secret in the whole state," Bethea said. "Don't nobody know about Jordan. He's very explosive."
The other key was Dorsey, who scored 13 points and controlled the game's tempo. And afterward, as the team's senior point guard, he shouldered responsibility for Beach's late slipups, which included a technical foul that led to a four-point swing and three straight turnovers in the final two minutes.
"We kind of panicked a little bit," Dorsey said. "I'll put the blame on me. Me being the point guard and the leader of the team, I've got to handle my team a lot better. That could have been a lot easier than it was."
Rainier Beach led by eight at halftime, but LaVine opened the third quarter with seven points to cut Beach's lead to one in the first two minutes.
LaVine wasn't sure if he'd be able to go that afternoon and spent the morning shooting around at Bothell to see if he would be ready. He decided he couldn't miss this one.
He scored six above his season average and earned every one of them. Going against Beach guard Marquis Davis, one of the state's best perimeter defenders, LaVine made 11 of 26 shots, including 2 of 11 from three-point range in a gutsy effort.
"Marquis made him work for everything," Bethea said.
Davis scored 12 points for Beach while Shaqquan Aaron, Beach's 6-foot-7 future Division-I player, had 12.
Perrion Callandret and Josh Martin each scored 12 points for a Bothell team that lost its first game of the season.
"They could have just quit on that thing," Bothell coach Ron Bollinger said, "but they came back and did a really good job battling. It will be good for us down the road."
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Rainier Beach guard Marquis Davis, left, makes a steal against Bothell's Perrion Callandret during the Vikings' 66-63 victory over the Cougars Monday at Brougham Pavilion.