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STATE TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK: Notebook: Talia Walton and the rest of the Eagles are getting a lot of love
Federal Way senior Talia Walton received yet another honor Tuesday when she was named to the Seattle Times’ 2011 Star Times All-Area Girls Basketball Team.
The University of Washington-signee was a double-double machine for the Eagles this season. The 6-foot-2 forward averaged 16.5 points and 13 rebounds a game for the top-ranked team in the state. Walton also battled back from a knee injury last month to lead the Eagles to the Tacoma Dome.
Walton was joined on the Star Times team by Holy Names senior Erika Johnson, Kennedy senior Aminah Williams, Seattle Prep senior Kari Luttinen and Auburn Riverside senior Kat Cooper.
In somewhat of a shocking development, Decatur senior guard Jerron Smith was left off the Seattle Times’ 2011 Star Times All-Area Boys Basketball Team.
It’s unclear what else the Portland State-signee could have done to earn the recognition? The 6-foot-3 Smith finished the year averaging 27.5 points a game and led the Gators into the state tournament for the fifth-straight season. He is just the second player in Decatur history to play at state every season of his high school career. Smith, who also sports a 3.8 grade-point average, shattered the all-time Decatur scoring record with 2,031 points during his four-year career.
The five members of the 2011 Star Times All-Area Boys Basketball Team were Garfield’s Tony Wroten, Auburn’s Kevin Henderson, Seattle Prep’s Mitch Brewe, Jackson’s Brett Kingma and Kentridge’s Gary Bell.
Getting some love
• The Federal Way girls basketball team got a lot of love from the daily newspapers before the tournament. Both The News Tribune and Seattle Times picked the Eagles to win the state title.
The News Tribune picked Federal Way over Lewis & Clark and the Times chose the Eagles over Woodinville.
• University of Washington head women’s basketball coach Tia Jackson will get to see two of her three Class of 2011 recruits in the Tacoma Dome.
Walton is joined by fellow Husky signee Kennedy Catholic senior Aminah Williams in Tacoma. Williams, a 6-foot forward, helped the Lancers win a 3A state title in 2009.
“She may be the best all around player (on both ends) that we’ve ever signed,” Jackson said. “Her size on the wing allows her to play multiple positions.”
But Walton is the top-rated forward in the state, according to ESPN HoopGurlz.
“(Walton) is a very accomplished player and her versatility on the basketball court will help us tremendously,” Jackson said. “Not only can she score but she also can impact a game on the boards. She is an outstanding rebounder because of her size and jumping ability.”
Another future Husky, Garfield’s Tony Wroten, is playing in the Class 4A boys tournament in Tacoma.
Graham back at state
• Federal Way girls coach Danny Graham made his third appearance at state in his fourth year coaching the Eagles. Graham also played on a pair of state tournament basketball teams while attending Federal Way High School, graduating in 1991. Graham is also the coach of the Federal Way baseball team, which started practicing on Monday.
• The WIAA L.E.A.P. Committee, made up of students from member schools across the state, is sponsoring a coin drive at each championship game on Saturday, March 5. Fans and community members are encouraged to bring coins to the Tacoma Dome. The coins will be donated to the Special Olympics Washington at the conclusion of the tournament.
• The Eagles dominated the All-South Puget Sound League South Division postseason awards. Not only did Talia Walton pick up the division’s Most Valuable Player award, but four others were named first-team.
Senior Brittany Barrington, juniors Darah Huertas-Vining and Dyesha Belhumeur and sophomore Raven Benton were all first-teamers. Barrington, who missed the first part of the season with a knee injury, is averaging 10.4 points and 11 rebounds since her return, Huertas-Vining is the Eagles’ second-leading scorer at 13.6 a game, Benton is averaging 10.0 and Belhumeur is chipping in 9.3.
Track will wait
• Federal Way senior Jaleecia Roland missed the first week of track and field practice for the Eagles. The 6-foot forward on the basketball team signed a letter of intent to compete on the University of Washington track team.
Roland is the all-time Federal Way record-holder in the high jump and triple jump. As a junior, Roland finished second in the high jump at the 4A State Track and Field Meet with a leap of 5-foot-7. She finished sixth in the triple jump with a leap of 37-5 3/4.