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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Top-ranked Federal Way falls in SPSL title game; Decatur, Beamer roll into districts
The top-ranked Federal Way Eagles girls basketball team entered the postseason with their first loss in the state of Washington this season. Fourth-ranked Auburn Riverside knocked off the Eagles, 66-51, Friday night in the title game of the South Puget Sound League at Kent's Showare Center.
Auburn Riverside, who are the defending Class 4A state champions, won the SPSL North Division and Federal Way were the South Division winners.
The Eagles (19-2) will host Tahoma (SPSL No. 8) in the opening round of the West Central/Southwest District Tournament at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15. The top-eight teams in the 16-team tournament advance to the Class 4A State Girls Basketball Tournament in the Tacoma Dome. Riverside will host Bethel (SPSL No. 10).
The Ravens dominated the first half of the game Friday night, capitalizing on the absence of Federal Way’s leading scorer, University of Washington-bound Talia Walton, who suffered a MCL tear in practice on Wednesday.
"I think that this team has improved from day one tremendously," Riverside head coach Terry Johnson said. "We still have some areas where we have to clean up if we're going to compete with the top teams in the state. As far as our effort goes and our understand of how we need to play to be successful, I'm pretty pleased with where we're at."
Down 33-21 at the half, the Eagles were unwilling to go down without a fight, however, posting a 9-0 run to open the second half.
Senior Makenna Clark stepped up for the Ravens however, scoring on several big plays and finishing the game with 22 points, six rebounds and three steals.
"We knew we had to stay composed and have them play our game," Clark said "It was about us and not them. If we played out game we knew we could come out with a win."
Kat Cooper led all scorers in the contest with 25 points, with Brooklynn Hinkens chiming in with 12 points. Federal Way was led by Dyesha Belhumeur, who had 16 points.
In other action:
Decatur Gators — The upstart Gators won a pair of loser-out games last weekend to earn a berth to the Class 3A West Central District Tournament. The Gators (8-15) downed Bremerton Friday night on their home court, 39-30, and beat Bonney Lake Saturday, 46-41, at Lakes High School in the Seamount/SPSL 3A Sub-district tournament.
Decatur will take on Capital, the third-place team from the Narrows League, at 8 p.m. at Stadium High School Tuesday, Feb. 15 in the opening round of the double-elimination district tournament. This is the first time the Gators have played in the postseason since the 2003-04 season.
A'yesia Rogers was huge for the Gators in both sub-district games. Rogers tallied 19 points during the win over Bremerton and followed with 20 against Bonney Lake. She was the only Gator in double figures in either game.
Decatur controlled a bulk of the game against Bremerton. the Gators led 15-12 at half. Senior Kayla Lipston finished with eight points.
Against Bonney Lake, who beat the Gators during their two regular-season meetings, Decatur jumped out to a 19-10 lead at halftime before the Panthers came back to take a 31-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
Beamer 66, Tahoma 63 (OT) — The Titans grabbed the SPSL's seventh seed into the West Central/Southwest District Tournament with an exciting overtime win over the Bears in a battle between the two fourth-place teams from the North and South divisions Saturday at Auburn High School.
Beamer (13-8) will travel to Port Orchard to take on South Kitsap at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15. The Wolves (17-3) finished second in the Narrows League.
Saturday, the Titans overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force the game into overtime. Beamer outscored Tahoma, 17-5, during the fourth to tie the game. She was the only Decatur player in double figures in either game.
Shyla Akins led three Titans in double figures with a game-high 20 points. Freshman Megan Huff had 18 and junior Meghan Graf finished with 16.
Tahoma (9-12) jumped all over Beamer from the opening tip, outscoring the Titans, 16-5, during the first eight minutes. Beamer came back to cut the lead to just two, 29-27, at the half.
Auburn Reporter sports editor Shawn Skager contributed to this report