Decatur boys blaze into SPSL tourney

By CASEY OLSON, The Mirror

The Decatur Gators are entering the boys basketball postseason on a high note.

The Gators secured the No. 2 seed from the rugged South Puget Sound League North Division with a 57-50 win over Kentwood at Tahoma High School Tuesday night. The teams were forced to play the tie-breaker game after splitting their two regular-season contests.

Next up for Decatur are the Bethel Braves at today’s SPSL Tournament. The two teams will play at noon at Puyallup High School with the league’s third and fourth seeds on the line.

The Braves (14-6 overall) finished second in the South with a 12-2 record. Their only league losses came to first-place Curtis and fourth-place Puyallup. Bethel also lost non-leaguers to Mount Tahoma, Lincoln, O’Dea and Mountlake Terrace.

The Braves are led by 6-foot-3 senior guard Brandon MaGee, who leads the SPSL in scoring at 23.0 points a game. MaGee has scored in double figures in every Bethel game and tallied more than 30 points three times, including a 40-point game in a win over Emerald Ridge. Andre Mayes (13.1 points) and Oliver Henry (10 points) also chip in double figures for the Braves.

The winner of the Decatur-Bethel game will earn the SPSL’s third seed into the West Central District Tournament, which kicks off Wednesday. The Gators are guaranteed to host an opening-round game against either the fifth-place team from the Narrows League or the seventh-seed from the SPSL.

Bethel is going to have to do a better job of limiting the Decatur backcourt than Kentwood did Tuesday night. The Gator tandem of Marcus Tibbs and Michael Hale officially lit up the sixth-ranked Conquerors.

Tibbs, who is averaging 19 points a game, drained all six of his 3-point attempts and scored a game-high 25 points.

Hale, a junior, added 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting. The two guards combined for all but 10 of Decatur’s points against Kentwood.

The Gators’ defense was also solid, especially against the 6-foot-9 Josh Smith. The sophomore tallied only 10 points, which was 18 fewer than he scored during the Conks victory over Decatur. Jeremy Green, a 6-7 senior, led Kentwood with 24 points.

The Decatur boys won’t be the only district team taking on Bethel today. The Federal Way girls will take on the Braves at 4 p.m. at Puyallup with the third and fourth seeds to districts on the line.

The Eagles (16-4) finished behind Kentwood to earn the second seed from the North Division after winning 10 of their last 11 games. Their only loss during that stretch came to the Conquerors (14-0 in league).

Federal Way is led in scoring by a trio of underclassmen — freshmen Talia Walton (14 points a game) and Brittany Barrington (13.2) and junior Jacqie Evenson (12.0).

But the Braves (16-4) have been just as hot. They have also won 10 of their last 11 and also feature three double-digit scorers. Bethel is led by the 12.2 points of Airiel Geller. Alychia Colon chips in 11 points and Lindsay Flowers is averaging 10.4 a game.

The girls West Central District Tournament gets underway Thursday. Federal Way will host its first-round game.

Jefferson girls 55, Kentlake 37 (SPSL North tiebreaker)

The Thomas Jefferson girls grabbed the fourth seed from the SPSL North Division Tuesday night with a 55-37 win over the Kentlake Falcons. The game was played at Tahoma High School and was necessary because TJ and Kentlake tied with identical 7-7 division records and split their two regular season contests.

Sophomore guard Hannah Kiyohara led TJ with 17 points and Unique Taufa’asau chipped in 13. The Raiders dominated the first half and rolled out to a 34-9 after the second quarter.

Jefferson (14-8 overall) played Rogers last night in a battle between the fourth-place teams from the North and South divisions. The Raiders will then play again Thursday night in the opening round of the West Central District Tournament.

Puyallup boys 82, Beamer 54 (SPSL South tiebreaker)

The Titans couldn’t hang with the Puyallup Vikings Tuesday night at Rogers High School. Puyallup dominated Beamer, who will be the SPSL South’s No. 5 seed into the postseason. The Titans (9-12) took on Kentlake, the North No. 5 seed, last night (after press time).

Beamer couldn’t get anything going against Puyallup. The Vikings outscored the Titans, 45-22, in the first half and led 60-30 at the end of the third quarter.

Puyallup made eight 3-pointers during the game and had all 12 of their players scored at least two points. Beamer was led by the 15 points of senior point guard Dakin Wanquist.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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