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BOYS BASKETBALL: All four Federal Way programs will play at districts for first time | SLIDESHOW
For the first time in the history of the Federal Way School District, all four boys basketball teams have qualified for their respective West Central/Southwest District Tournaments. Federal Way, Beamer and Jefferson will kick off the Class 4A tournament Wednesday, as will the Decatur Gators in the 3A version.
The fifth-ranked Eagles will host Mount Rainier, Beamer will play at home against Union, and TJ will travel to Stadium, all at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Decatur will take on Foss at Franklin Pierce at 6 p.m. in a loser-out contest.
The Eagles needed overtime to beat the Auburn Trojans, 56-51, on Thursday night at the SPSL Tournament inside the ShoWare Center. The game matched the two second-place teams from the SPSL South and North. (SEE PHOTOS)
Federal Way (18-3) will now enter the district tournament as the SPSL's third seed. Mount Rainier (12-9) is the seventh seed from the SPSL after losing to Beamer Saturday, 57-47.
The Eagles outscored the Trojans, 10-5, during the four-minute overtime session. The biggest shot of the period came from Lorenzo Robinson, who hit a 3-pointer with less than a minute to go to give Federal Way a 53-51 lead. The Eagles sealed the game with three free throws down the stretch.
Federal Way junior Brayon Blake led the way for the Eagles with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Auburn got 22 points from J.J. Ruffin, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Ruffin made a pair of free throws with 20.5 seconds to play in regulation to force overtime.
Senior D'Londo Tucker finished with 11 points for the Eagles and Malik Montoya added seven.
The Titans won a strange game Saturday over the Mount Rainier Rams in a battle between the two third-place teams from the SPSL North and South. The game was played at Puyallup High School.
Beamer (16-5) jumped out to commanding 19-1 lead after the first quarter in a game that looked like it was going to be a blowout. But Mount Rainier fought back, outscoring the Titans, 18-4, in the second quarter to trail only 23-19 at halftime.
Beamer, however, pulled away in the final quarter to assure themselves of a home game in the opening round of the district tournament.
The Titans were led by 20 points and 11 rebounds from Bogdon Bliznyuk and 17 points and seven rebounds from Juwan Flowers.
Union, who the Titans host Wednesday, won the regular season title in the Greater St. Helen's League with a 9-1 record, but lost to Evergreen in the league tournament.
The miraculous season at TJ continued Saturday at the SPSL Tournament. The Raiders came from 16 points down in the second half to beat the Bethel Braves at Puyallup, 53-51, Saturday.
Jefferson fell behind 32-16 during the first half, in a game between the two fourth-place teams from the SPSL North and South. But the Raiders cut the Bethel lead to 40-34 after the third quarter and led 51-44 with just over two minutes left before Bethel went on a 10-2 run to end the game. The Braves missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game.
Wednesday's game will be a rematch from earlier in the season and will be the first time TJ has played at the district tournament since 1985. Stadium beat the Raiders, 71-58, on Dec. 28. The Tigers finished second in the Narrows League behind Bellarmine Prep.
The Gators continued their recent solid play with a 60-50 win over the Hazen Highlanders in a loser-out sub-district game Saturday at Auburn Mountainview.
The win moves Decatur (12-9) into the 12-team West Central/Southwest District Tournament, where they will take on the Foss Falcons at 6 p.m. at Franklin Pierce High School Wednesday in another loser-out game. Foss finished in second place in the Narrows League 3A Division behind Lincoln with a 15-5 record.
The win over Hazen Saturday was the Gators' fourth in a row after a three-game losing streak. Decatur held the Highlanders to just 15 points in the first half and took a 13-point lead into the locker room. Hazen tightened the game to 10 points after the third quarter, but couldn't get any closer.
Jason Young led four Decatur players in double figures with 17 points. Adam Wilson contributed 12, M. Gomez had 11 and Kevin Locascio chipped in 10 points for the Gators.
Decatur has qualified for six-straight state or regional berths and is looking for a seventh. The top-six finishers at the district tournament advance to the Class 3A Regionals.
The winner of the Foss-Decatur game will travel to Vancouver's Columbia River at 7:45 p.m. Friday.
Check out a slideshow below from the Federal Way-Auburn game or click here.