Eagles pick up needed win

After a tough week, the Federal Way basketball team picked itself up with a 50-46 win over Emerald Ridge Friday.

“It was a good win on the road,” Federal Way coach Jerome Collins said. “We were faced with some adversity and the kids responded, regrouped and came out strong.”

It was a much-needed victory for a team expected to finish toward the top of the league before running into bumpy water. Prior to the win, the Eagles had not only lost two-straight games, but also lost key players.

Prior to the season, Virgil Matthews, the leading scorer on last year’s team after transferring from Bethel, was not awarded an additional year of eligibility to play this season.

Then last week, starting senior point guard Teddy Williams, and reserves Daniel Johnson, a junior guard, and Brian Harper, a junior guard, were not on the team after being expelled from school for disciplinary reasons.

Additionally, junior guard Eric Duncan is academically ineligible, but is expected back after the winter break.

When it rains, it pours.

“They’re not here, but out team is going on,” Collins said. “We got a season ahead of us. Were getting through it and were maintaining. Going against Emerald Ridge, who took Bethel into overtime a couple games ago, we could have went down there and got thrashed, but we didn’t. The kids really showed they got strong character and got some pride in the program.”

In the win against Emerald Ridge, Jason Carlson led the Eagles in scoring with 14 points. Andre Piper-Jordan and Nate Sanchez scored 10 each. Brad Mahlstedt added seven.

“Brad Mahlstedt had an excellent game,” Collins said. “He did a great job of leading us. His leadership really took over, particularly on the road.”

For the Eagles, the win was a chance to regroup after using new combinations of players on the court.

“It’s still early, but to us it’s starting all over again,” Collins said. “Kids who are used to being in a reserve role were thrust into starting positions. From that perspective, it was really good the kids were able to fight through all that, yet still win.”

Federal Way played Rogers last night, then plays Curtis on Friday.

“It’s just another battle,” Collins said. “It doesn’t seem to get any easier. Our goal is still there, to continue to get better. Now we have to add a goal to try to get to know each other all over again. We hope to play at a level where we can be in ball games and win down the stretch. I’m proud of the guys the way they played tough on the road and came away with the win.”

Federal Way is 1-3 in the league and 2-3 overall.

Federal Way plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Curtis.

Puyallup 75, Decatur 69

Decatur took a 53-51 lead with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but Puyallup went on a run as it heated up and Decatur turned cold.

Puyallup’s Rob Iverson scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers.

“We played real hard, fought like mad for rebounds and loose balls, but we just came up a few points short in the end,” Decatur coach Kevin Olson. “It was a very good basketball game. After the game, several spectators, both from Decatur and Puyallup, mentioned that it was indeed a well-played high school basketball game by both teams, and could have gone either way in the fourth quarter.”

Alonzo Akres led Decatur in scoring with 24 points — including two dunks. He also grabbed nine rebounds and four steals. Christian Scholze scored 14 points, including two 3-pointers, six rebounds and six assists. Brandon Hicks scored 12 and Andy Henry scored 8 points and pulled down four rebounds.

Decatur fell to 1-3 in the league.

“That is discouraging because we know we are better than 1-3, yet at the end of the season the Ws and Ls determine your fate as far as playoffs go. The good thing is that in basketball, we play a 16-game league season, so it’s far from over.”

Decatur’s next league game isn’t until Jan. 4 against Jefferson.

During winter break, the Gators are scheduled to play in the Bellevue Community College Holiday Tournament Dec. 27-29.

“We must build on last week’s blowout of Spanaway Lake and near miss against Puyallup, and take care of business against Emerald Ridge,” Olson said. “Once we do that, we can move on and talk about January.”

Rogers 71, Jefferson 52

Matt Englund scored 25 points as Jefferson fell to Rogers 71-52 Friday. Englund is leading the South Puget Sound League in scoring, averaging 20.8 points per game.

Junior Dominique DeGrate scored 14 points and junior Jared Bronson scored eight for the Raiders.

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