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BASKETBALL WRAP: Federal Way's Benton leads the way for Eagles in early-season; TJ boys win
Coming into the season, Raven Benton was highly regarded as one of the best players in the state. The 5-foot-10 senior was a preseason, second-team all-state selection by the Seattle Times.
But Benton is more than living up to the hype. In her first two games of the year, Benton is averaging 37 points a game and has the Federal Way Eagles at 2-0 in the South Puget Sound League South Division.
Benton poured in 35 points Tuesday night and the Eagles used a solid third quarter to pull away from the Emerald Ridge Jaguars at home, 61-56.
The game was tied at 27-27 at halftime, but Federal Way outscored the Jaguars, 21-16, in the third quarter to pull away. Emerald Ridge handed the Eagles their lone SPSL South loss last season.
Kayla Smith finished with 11 points for Federal Way.
Benton finished with a career-high 39 points and the Federal Way Eagles needed every one of them Friday night during a 58-55 win over Rogers on the road.
Federal Way, the defending SPSL South champions, trailed 28-21 at halftime before outscoring the Rams, 37-27, in the second half. The Eagles' next highest scorer behind Benton was Smith with six points.
The star-studded Titans won their SPSL South opener Tuesday over Rogers, 55-46. Beamer led 34-17 at halftime and got 20 points from junior Megan Huff. Bria Rice finished with 12 points and Quinnessa Caylao chipped in 11.
The Raiders dropped their SPSL North opener Friday to Kentridge, 59-46. Jefferson was led by Jada and Jolynn Piper. The sisters scored 36 of the Raiders' 46 points against the Chargers. Jada Piper finished with 21 and Jolynn finished with 15.
The Gators dropped a pair non-league games to Fife and Highline to start the season. Decatur fell to Highline Tuesday, 39-29, and lost to Fife Friday night, 35-29. Stephanie Maxwell and Janiece Flucker led the way against Highline with seven points each and Maxwell finished with eight against Fife.
The Thomas Jefferson boys basketball team is hoping this is the year they make some noise in the South Puget Sound League.
The Raiders started their SPSL North schedule in impressive fashion Friday night with a huge, 56-51, win over the Kentridge Chargers at home.
Jefferson, who haven't qualified for the postseason since 1985, got a big game from senior guard Daryon James, who finished with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Raiders led 16-13 after the first quarter. The Chargers grabbed the lead back, 23-22, at halftime. But the third quarter belonged to TJ, outscoring Kentridge, 18-7, before cruising in the fourth.
Senior Josh Duckworth added 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and junior Deonte Anderson chipped in nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
The Raiders also blew away Franklin Pierce in their opener Nov. 28, 72-53. Anderson had 20 points and James had 16.
The Gators moved to 2-1 on the season with a 66-42 non-league win over Kentlake Wednesday. Jason Young led three in double figures with 22 points. Kevin Locascio finished with 17 and Glen Jackson chipped in 12 for Decatur.
Kennedy Catholic handed the Gators a loss Friday night at the Les Schwab Tipoff Classic at Auburn Riverside, 46-42. Decatur was led by 13 points from Adam Wilson and Locascio chipped in 10.
The Gators blew away Highline in their season-opener on Nov. 28, 84-50. Young led four Decatur players in double figures with 25 points. Locascio had 14, Wilson finished with 13 and Jackson had 10 points.
The Eagles opened their SPSL South season by blowing away the Rogers Rams, 70-33. Federal Way had seven players score at least six points during the game and were led by 17 from junior Brayon Blake. Senior Rashawn Goosby finished with 13 and senior D'Londo Tucker chipped in nine points.
The Titans picked up a huge non-league win over the Garfield Bulldogs riday night at home, 56-55. No details were reported about the game.
It's the second year in a row the Titans have opened with a win over Garfield, who hold the state record with 13 big-school state championships.