Decatur rolls over Jefferson

Decatur senior Alonzo Akres scored 38 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, to lift the Gators boys basketball team over Jefferson 75-66 Thursday at Jefferson.

“We had a tournament this past week and I was blowing it,” Akres said. “My coaches and my parents kind of got on my case, saying I needed to take it strong. It worked. The pressure got to me.”

It was the most points Akres has scored in a high school game.

“That was definitely his best game because he played an aggressive, take-no-prisoners style on defense and offense,” Decatur coach Kevin Olson said. “He just never stopped. He played consistently for 32 minutes.”

It couldn’t have come at a better time for Decatur, which had lost five games in a row. Jefferson entered Friday’s game having won three consecutive games.

“We had some meetings, some heart-to-heart talks, and finally decided to start playing for each other,” Olson said. “That positive support carried over. It’s a new year, so we’re starting a new season.”

Jefferson had a 32-31 lead at halftime, and the teams were tied at 51 after three quarters.

With 3:12 left in the game, Jefferson senior Cordney Craven hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 61.

But momentum swung back into Decatur’s favor. After a Decatur turnover, Decatur senior Christian Scholze stole the ball back and fed Akres for two points. On Jefferson’s next possession, Scholze made another steal and assisted Akres for two more points. The Gators would never trail again.

“This game was really important for us,” Akres said. “We needed a win. We hadn’t had one in a long time. Our team came through, everybody was making shots. In the fourth quarter, we really put it on them. We out hustled them.”

Decatur senior Larry Kier hit three 3-pointers in the game. He finished with 12 points.

“I lost my starting position, and I wanted to help my team win,” Kier said. “I swallowed my pride and took a gut check. I practiced hard and just wanted to get it done tonight. We came together as a team tonight. It’s going to turn our season around. It’s a team game now.”

“Larry totally turned around his attitude and got it done on the court,” Olson said. “He played a positive leadership role and made some good plays.”

The key to the Decatur win was trying to slow down Jefferson’s scoring threat of Matt Englund and Myron Hennings.

Englund leads the South Puget Sound League in scoring with an average of 22.8 points per game. Hennings ranks 10th in the SPSL, with an average of 15 points per game.

“Englund and Hennings are going to get their points,” Olson said. “They’re good players and we knew we couldn’t give them any open shots.

Englund maintained his average and scored 23 points against Decatur while Hennings scored 21.

Toward the end, the game came down to free throws. Decatur made 12 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter. Jefferson was 0-3.

“With the shots at the end, I didn’t finish,” Englund said. “I take responsibility for this game. I missed a lay in and a couple of free throws at the end. But I still feel good. We’ll be alright.”

Decatur improved to 2-4 in the SPSL and 3-7 overall. Jefferson fell to 1-5 in the SPSL and 3-7 overall.

“This was a team win,” Olson said. “If we carry that on through January we’ll be in a lot of games and it will be fun.”

Decatur hosts Federal Way on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Federal Way is 4-2 in the SPSL and 6-4 overall.

The Federal Way at Decatur girls basketball game follows at 7:30 p.m.

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