"Decatur girls rallies past Curtis, 36-35"

"If you had plans and needed to cut out early from the Decatur girls’ home basketball game against Curtis Friday night, nobody would have blamed you for cdeparting after the first quarter.With the Gators’ inability to literally hold onto the ball and the Viking’s 14-2 lead, leaving would have been an aceptable option.For those who stayed, however, the Gators and Vikings put on an entertaining and thrilling show even if it wasn’t all that artistic.Katie Swezea and Cristina Null came off the bench to combine for all nine of the Gators’ fourth quarter points to lead Decatur to a 36-35 victory in the South Puget Sound League South Division matchup.The Gators improved to 3-1 with the win and moved into second place in the division standings. The Vikings fell to 1-3.“It certainly wasn’t an artistic game by either team,” Decatur coach Gary Baker said. “We’re still trying to find ourselves. We’ve created a base to where we expect (to play) a good, tight defense every night. Now we need to work on our offense.”The Gators had no offense in the first quarter. The Viking’s full-court press forced seven early turnovers by Decatur.“I felt like we weren’t playing together as a team,” Swesea said of the Gators’ early troubles. “We weren’t making crisp passes and we weren’t thinking before we passed.”The Vikings inexplicably went away from their inside game, which gave them the early lead. Curtis pumped up seven 3-point shots in the second quarter and made just one. The Vikings made just one other shot in the quarter. The missed shots by Curtis allowed Decatur to avoid the Vikings’ full-court press and work their own half-court offense.Five Decatur players scored in the second quarter, allowing the Gators to go into halftime tied at 19-19. Decatur ended the first half with an 8-0 run.The lead changed hands seven times in the second half. After sophomore DeKeidra Brewer scored a basket off an offensive rebound 1:10 into the third quarter, Barb Blocki gave the Gators their first lead of the game, 23-21, with a foul-line jumper.A Brewer steal led to a layup by Julia Oates, who added two free throw moments later as the Gators jumped ahead 27-24.Curtis kept it close with two 3-pointers from Tanya Lenox. The second put the Viking up 33-31 with 3:40 left in the game.Null followed with a pair of baskets, the first came off an assist from Barb Blocki. Swezea scored the game-winning point on a free throw awarded for a technical foul on Curtis with 2:17 left in the game.Despite forcing three Decatur turnovers in the in the final two minutes, Curtis could score just one more basket, that by Erika Lastimado with 1:48 left in the game. Melissa Brown’s last-second shot hit the front of the rim and bounded into Null’s arms."

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