BOYS BASKETBALL: Bellarmine drops Federal Way into district loser's bracket; Decatur opens against Mountain View

The road to the Tacoma Dome got a little bumpier Wednesday night for the Federal Way Eagles boys basketball team.

The Bellarmine Prep Lions sent the Eagles into the loser's bracket with a 65-56 home victory in the first round of the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament in Tacoma. Federal Way will now have to win two district games in a row to qualify for its fifth straight Class 4A State Basketball Tournament.

The Eagles (13-9) uphill journey starts at 6 p.m. at Auburn Mountainview High School Friday night in a loser-out game against Union (15-7) of Vancouver. Union, the second seed out of the Greater St. Helen's League, was beat up by Puyallup Tuesday, 62-48.

The Federal Way/Union winner will play at 6:15 p.m. at Rogers High School on Saturday against either Kentwood or Olympia in another loser-out game.

Bellarmine (14-7) just had too much strength and experience for the young, but talented Eagles. The Lions will face Puyallup Friday in a winner-to-state game at Mount Tahoma.

Federal Way, who finished fourth in the South Puget Sound League South Division, took an early 8-4 lead over the Lions. But Bellarmine Prep erupted on a 10-0 run during the first quarter to take a 14-8 lead and cruised to the win.

The Eagles cut the Bellarmine lead to just five points early in the second half, but the Lions went on a 10-2 run to take a 42-29 advantage. Bellarmine extended the lead to as many as 20 points later in the game.

Federal Way senior Jerry Duckworth scored a game-high 25 points. Senior Deshea Bell finished with 16 points and senior Napa Mefi chipped in 10 points for the Eagles.

Federal Way has not missed the state tournament since 2006.

The Lions used their size and strength inside to dominate the Eagles' young interior defense, which includes three freshmen and two sophomores. Bellarmine got 16 points from forward Sefo Liufau, 14 from

The Lions worked the ball inside to forward Sefo Liufau, who scored a team-high 16 points, 6-foot-6 Johnny Harbottle, who added 14 points and forward Lukas Meikle chipped in eight points off the bench.

Decatur Gators

After receiving a first-round bye, the Gators jump into the program's inaugural Class 3A West Central/Southwest District Tournament Friday against Mountain View. The Thunder, the fourth seed from the Southwest District, pulled off a minor upset Tuesday with a win over Wilson, the Narrows League's second seed, 64-58.

A win over Mountain View will guarantee the Gators their fifth trip in a row to the state tournament. The game will be at 8 p.m. at Bonney Lake High School.

Win or lose, Decatur will play again Saturday at Mount Tahoma. A loss will mean a loser-out contest against Kennedy Catholic at 2:45 p.m. A win would put the Gators into a semifinal against either Foss or Hudson's Bay at 8:15 p.m. The district title game will be played at 4 p.m. at Kent's Showare Center on Monday.

The Gators snared the second seed at the Seamount/SPSL 3A sub-district tournament with an 85-82 win over Hazen last weekend. Decatur got 35 points from Jerron Smith, 21 from Dom Hunter and 20 from Markus Rawls to down the Seamount League regular season champs.

The 35 points by Smith was the 10th time this season the Portland State-bound guard has scored more than 30 in a game. The 6-foot-3 Smith is averaging an eye-popping 28.1 points a game.

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