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BOYS BASKETBALL: Federal Way, Beamer roll in district openers; TJ, Decatur lose
The motto during the rugged basketball postseason is to survive and advance. That's just what the fifth-ranked Federal Way Eagles did Wednesday night in their West Central/Southwest District Tournament opener.
The Eagles (19-3) squirmed by the Mount Rainier Rams, 70-60, inside the gym at Federal Way High School to advance into the district quarterfinals. The Eagles will take on the 10th-ranked Bellarmine Prep Lions at 7:45 p.m. at Mount Tahoma Friday. The winner is guaranteed a berth in the 16-team regional tournament.
Against Mount Rainier, the seventh seed from the South Puget Sound League, the difference proved to be the Eagles' junior big man, Brayon Blake. The 6-foot-5 banger finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots against the smaller Rams.
After playing a pretty even first half, Federal Way (19-3) opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take an 11-point lead. Mount Rainier (13-8) mounted a little comeback in the fourth quarter, cutting the Eagle lead to just four points with just under four minutes to play.
But the Rams couldn't get any closer as Federal Way made 11 of 14 free throws during the fourth quarter to ice the game.
Blake actually wasn't the Eagles' leading scorer against the Rams. Sophomore guard Malik Montoya finished with 22 points, including 18 in the second half.
Federal Way guard Adrian Davis, a junior transfer from Mount Rainier, scored 13 points against his former team.
The Titans (16-5) picked up a huge home win Wednesday over Vancouver's Union High School, 76-63, in the opening round of the 4A district tournament. Union won the regular season title in the Greater St. Helen's League.
Beamer will now battle the SPSL North champion Tahoma Bears at 6 p.m. at Mount Tahoma Friday night in the district quarterfinals. The winner advances to regionals.
Beamer, who finished sixth in the SPSL, jumped out to a 23-12 lead with stellar defense in the first quarter and cruised the rest of the way. Forest Grant led the way during the first eight minutes with seven points.
The Titans had five players score in double figures against Union, led by 19 from Juwan Flowers, who also had nine rebounds and five assists. Trey Burch-Manning finished with 13 points, Charles Frazier had 12, Quadir Williams chipped in 10 and Bogdon Bliznyuk had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Raiders' first game at the district tournament in over 25 years ended with a 67-40 loss to the Stadium Tigers Wednesday on the road. Jefferson will take on Battle Ground at 7:45 p.m. at Auburn Mountainview High School Friday in a loser-out game. Battle Ground lost to Curtis in their district opener, 59-41.
The Tigers (15-9) were scorching from the field all night long. Stadium, who finished second in the Narrows League, jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half. But, like they have all season, the Raiders (13-9) fought back.
Jefferson cut the Stadium advantage to 30-22 on Danny Park’s basket midway through the third quarter.
But Stadium didn't panic and went on a 20-7 run over the next six minutes to take a commanding 50-29 lead with just over five minutes to play in the game. It was the Tigers' first playoff win since 2001.
The Raiders were led by 14 points from Daryon James, who was a first-team, All-SPSL North guard. Fellow guard Danny Park chipped in 11 points.
The Gators' season ended Wednesday night with a 65-53 loss to the Foss Falcons at Franklin Pierce in the opening game of the Class 3A West Central District Tournament.
The loss ends Decatur's six-year streak of qualifying for the state or regional tournament.
Foss, the second-place team from the Narrows Leauge, took control early and led 15-6 after the first quarter and 26-20 at halftime. The Gators (11-10) attempted a comeback in the third quarter, but Foss (16-5) never really let Decatur back in the game.
The Falcons were led by guard Jericho Ballard, who finished with a game-high 23 points, and Dezmyn Trent ended up with 20 points and seven rebounds.
Decatur was led by 16 points from Miguel Gomes and Jason Young added 13.