"Decatur girls eliminate Puyallup, close in on state"

"For the first time in five years, the Decatur Gators beat the Puyallup Vikings in girls basketball action, but more importantly, the win prolonged Decatur's season.In what only could be called an upset, the Gators eliminated the Vikings from the West Central District tournament with a 53-31 victory Tuesday night at Auburn High School.The Gators advance to within a win from making the state tournament for the first time since 1990. Decatur faces Rogers at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Puget Sound. A win would gain them a state berth and a final district game 10:30 a.m. Saturday at UPS. If the Gators lose to Rogers, Decatur plays in a loser-out, winner-to-state game at 5 p.m. Friday at UPS. The kids are believing and we're playing pretty good at times, Decatur coach Gary Baker said. We're not playing perfect, but we're playing many more minutes of good basketball.Eight of those minutes came in the second quarter when Decatur held Puyallup scoreless. The Gators stretched their one-point first quarter lead to 22-10 by half time. Decatur actually outscored Puyallup 22-4 in the final 12:35 of the first half.Senior Stephanie Peterson provided the Gators with a major key to the victory by holding Puyallup standout Coty Kilpatrick to just 11 points.I've played against her many times, Peterson said. I know which way she likes to go. She's my challenge every year.By fronting Kilpatrick, Peterson denied the Vikings access to their leading scorer, picked off three passes and deflected several others.We knew I had to front her and play on her left side and hope for backside help, Peterson said. Dekeidra Brewer, Cristina Null, Julia Oates and Barb Blocki provided ample defensive help for Peterson. In all, the Gators grabbed eight steals and forced 20 Puyallup turnovers.Peterson's defensive focus didn't take away from her offense. She came through with her third double-figure performance in four games. Peterson finished with a game-high 15 points and eight rebounds.Kim Boers also played one of her best games of the year with 14 points. She also dished out several assists.I had a really good feeling about this game, Boers said. I knew they'd be coming in thinking, 'It's just Decatur. We beat them twice. We can handle them.'In the opening moments, it looked like the Vikings might easily handle the Gators. Kilpatrick scored twice and Heidi Fox added a basket as Puyallup took a 6-0 lead. Decatur closed out the quarter with an 11-4 run. The Vikings then missed all seven of their shots in the second quarter.Null, who grabbed seven offensive rebounds and nine total boards, scored two put-back baskets early in the second half. Boers then set up Peterson and Katie Tyrell for open shots and scored three points of her own. By the end of the third quarter, Decatur had extended its lead to 35-18.Puyallup made a slight run in the fourth quarter aided by a four-point play and a 3-pointer by Jessica Riipi. The closest Puyallup came was 47-39 with 45 seconds left in the game.What better way to beat Puyallup than in a loser-out game, Boers said."

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