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BOYS BASKETBALL: Decatur sweeps Lakes, claims first-ever SPSL 3A championship
The Decatur Gators boys basketball team is peaking at the right time.
The Gators (15-4 overall, 9-0 SPSL 3A) clinched their first-ever South Puget Sound League 3A championship Tuesday by beating the defending state champion Lakes Lancers for the second time this season, 82-75. The win came on the Lancers’ home court and was Decatur’s 12th in a row.
This time around, the Gators rode the hot shooting hand of senior guard Dom Hunter. The 6-footer finished with 32 points, which bumped his season average to 20.6 points a game. Hunter has been in double figures in 18 of Decatur’s 19 games this season.
His backcourt mate, senior Markus Rawls, was also huge during the win. Rawls finished with 21 points from his point guard position.
“Dom and Markus are just too much for them,” said Decatur head coach Kevin Olson. “(They) really stepped up their play in those big games vs. Lakes.”
During their first meeting of the season, Rawls connected on a 17-foot jumper with 4 seconds on the clock to beat Lakes, 55-54. That win ended the Lancers’ two-year winning streak in the SPSL 3A.
Rawls finished that game with a career-high 27 points and basically carried the Gators to the win. This time around it was Hunter’s turn.
Hunter helped Decatur break open a tight game late in the third quarter Wednesday night in Lakewood. Hunter tallied six-straight points to cap a 10-0 run by the Gators, who turned a one-point deficit into a commanding 59-50 lead.
But Lakes wasn’t going to go down without a fight. The veteran Lancers battled back to cut the Decatur lead to just one, 67-66, with less than four minutes remaining in the game. Hunter and the Gators outscored Lakes, 15-9, down the stretch thanks to solid free-throw shooting.
During Decatur’s 12-game winning streak, seven have come by double digits. The Gators started the season with a 3-4 record, but the early-season struggles are a little deceiving. Decatur played an ultra-tough non-league schedule to prep for the SPSL 3A season. Their losses came against Newport, Bellevue, Lincoln and Foss.
“I knew this team could compete for a league title,” Olson said. “I didn’t know if we would be good enough to sweep Lakes. I feel like we are playing some really good basketball at the right time. We’ll try and keep that going the next few weeks.”
Andrew Holloway scored 23 points to lead Lakes. The 6-foot-9, 300-pound Zach Banner finished with 12 points, 17 rebounds and five assists a day after he shunned the University of Washington and committed to play football at USC in the fall.
The Lancers made only 9 of 23 from behind the 3-point line and will finish second in the SPSL 3A.
Decatur finishes its SPSL 3A season Friday at home against Auburn Mountainview.
In earlier action, The Gators remained unbeaten in the SPSL 3A with a pair of wins Friday and Saturday. Decatur downed Enumclaw Friday, 67-58, and beat Peninsula Saturday, 69-55.
Decatur was led by the 16 points of Abraham Ferrell-Logan during the home win over Peninsula. Jason Young finished with 15 and Hunter chipped in 13.
Against Enumclaw, the Gators overcame a five-point halftime deficit on the road to win going away. Hunter finished with 25 points and Ferrell-Logan added 22 for Decatur.
In other boys basketball action:
Federal Way — The Eagles remained in first place in the SPSL South after losing to the veteran Curtis Vikings Thursday night in University Place.
The Vikings, who lost in the Class 4A state title game a season ago, beat the Eagles, 54-48, in a key South Puget Sound League South Division game.
Federal Way (12-5 overall, 12-2 SPSL South) got back on track with three-straight wins Saturday, Monday and Tuesday and lead Curtis and Beamer by one game with just two to play. The Eagles will win the SPSL South Division title with wins over Beamer Friday, Feb. 3 and Bethel Saturday, Feb. 4.
Thursday night, Curtis outscored Federal Way, 20-13, during the third quarter to take control of the game. The Vikings were led by 22 points from Darius Johnson-Wilson. Federal Way got 17 points from sophomore Brayon Blake and 12 from sophomore Deonte Anderson.
The Eagles downed Graham-Kapowsin Tuesday, 61-32, thanks to outscoring the Eagles, 20-0, during the fourth quarter. Blake led Federal Way with 23 points.
Monday, the Eagles blew out Emerald Ridge, 53-39, and had three players in double figures. Anderson finished with 16 and D'Londo Tucker and Vionte Daniels both chipped in 10.
Saturday night, Federal Way beat Rogers, 52-46, on the road. Freshman Malik Montoya led the Eagles with 16 points and Blake finished with 13.
Beamer — The Titans got back on track with an impressive 71-48 win over Rogers Tuesday night in Puyallup. Beamer (12-5 overall, 11-3 SPSL South) was led by 28 points from senior guard Roosevelt Jones and Thomas Rhodes chipped in 12. Beamer outscored the Rams, 23-9, during the fourth quarter.
The win came after the Titans lost to Spanaway Lake Saturday night, 67-61. Beamer outscored the Sentinels, 32-24, during the first half. But Spanaway Lake outscored the Titans, 43-29, in the second half to walk away with the win. Beamer was led by 18 points from Jones and 17 from Rhodes.
On Thursday, the Titans dominated the second and third quarters to beat Graham-Kapowsin Thursday, 79-57. Beamer outscored the Eagles, 51-29, during the 16 minutes.
Jones tallied a career-high 34 points and senior Willie Roach chipped in 17.
Jefferson — The Raiders (9-9 overall, 6-8 SPSL North) continued their impressive play by winning three-straight games. Jefferson swept Bethel, Auburn and Auburn Riverside to get back in the SPSL North playoff hunt.
Tuesday night, TJ beat Auburn Riverside going away, 57-45. Daryon Games led the Raiders with 16 points. Daniel Park finished with 13 and Kendall Green chipped in 12.
Jefferson also beat Bethel in a non-league contest, 69-57, Friday and slipped by Auburn Saturday, 65-63.
Jacob Thoreson led three TJ players in double figures against Bethel at the Les Schwab Kent Shootout Friday at the ShoWare Center. Joshua Duckworth finished with 14 and James chipped in 13.
Saturday, four Raiders finished in double figures against Auburn. Park poured in 18 points, James finished with 17, Duckworth had 11 and Thoreson added 10.