Girls hoops: Gators advance; Evergreen Lutheran is eliminated

"The Decatur girls saved their season, but the Evergreen Lutheran girls could not save theirs.Decatur knocked off Kentwood, 55-49, in the West Central District Tournament Friday night at Auburn High School.The Gators (12-12) advance to face Puyallup (15-8) in a winner-to-state-loser-out matchup at 5 p.m. Tuesday night at Puyallup High. The Gators lost to Puyallup 40-38 and 53-42 during the regular season. Kentwood's season ends at 13-10.Evergreen Lutheran lost to Mount Vernon Christian, 54-39, in the Tri-District B Tournament Friday night at Ingraham High. The loss eliminated the Eagles a game shy of their goal of making state. A year ago, Evergreen Lutheran lost by one point with a berth to state on the line. The Eagles finish 18-6 for the season.Decatur may have played its best game of the season or at least their best first half against the Conquerors, but it came down to a final minute before the contest was decided.Two steals and two rebounds by senior Kim Boers and six-of-eight free throw shooting in the final 25 seconds sealed the victory for the Gators.We're playing again, Boers said. It's pretty big.Boers scored just seven points, but four of them game on free throws in the final 24 seconds. Senior Julia Oates led the Gators with 13 points, nine of which came off her three 3-pointers. Decatur senior Stephanie Peterson led the Gators with 11 of her 12 points in the first half. Sophomore Dekeidra Brewer scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Gators.I just wanted to play another game, said Decatur senior Stephanie Peterson, who has scored 10 or more in three of the past four games. We just wanted it really bad.The Gators led by 10 in the second quarter and nine midway through the third. Kentwood charged right back with a 17-5 run midway through the second half. Katie Louato and Lisa Scott each hit two 3-pointers during the run. Louato's second put the Conquerors ahead 44-43 with 6:05 remaining in the game.We're used to that. It seems like every single game we're behind and then we come right back, Peterson said, referring to the two recent close wins over Federal Way and Jefferson. We been in close games a lot of times and have come back. It's unfortunate that they made those shots, but we know how to come back.After another Louato basket, the Gators called a time out to regroup. We worked way too hard to let them hit a few lucky shots and win the game, Oates said. We just weren't going to let it (the Kentwood run) stop us at all. It didn't phase us.It proved to be the right move as Oates ended the Kentwood run with a 3-pointer that tied the score at 46-46 with 4:17 left.Our shooters really stepped up at the right times tonight, Boers said. Boers followed with a defensive rebound, which she dribble the length of the floor and scored on a short jumper. Brewer added a free throw and the Gators were back on top 49-46. Kentwood tied the game back up at 49-49 before Brewer put the Gators ahead for good, making one of two free throws. After a pair of missed shots by Decatur and a Kentwood rebound, Boers stole the ball and was fouled. She missed the front end of a one-and-one, but two Kentwood players knocked the ball out of bounds while fighting each other for the rebound. Boers was fouled again and made the first of two foul shots. Peterson rebounded the second and was immediately fouled. She hit one of two for her only point of the second half.In the first quarter, the teams combined to make nine of their first 12 shots. They finished a combined 16 of 26 and tied at 16-16 by the end of the first quarter.Peterson led the Gators with 11 of her 12 points in the first half.Katie Folden and Louato finished with 13 points each for Kentwood."

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