Win keeps TJ girls atop SPSL

The Jefferson girls basketball team members didn’t let the pressure of being locked in a tie for first place get into their heads.

“It’s the first time for our school, so we’re really excited,” senior Shannon Morse said of the Radiers’ top ranking.

“If we want to keep it, we have to work hard and win the rest of our games,” senior guard Michelle Morse said.

The Raiders took care of business with a decisive 61-43 win over Spanaway Lake on Saturday.

Jefferson senior guard Michelle Morse led all scorers with 21 points. She also had four steals and four rebounds. Shannon Morse finished with eight points, five rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots.

Chelsea Hunt had six points and seven rebounds for the Raiders.

Jefferson started slow and didn’t score for the first three minutes of

the game, including misfires on three 3-point attempts.

Jefferson finally got on the scoreboard and was holding onto an 8-6 when it went on a scoring run to break the game open. Jessiye Clark hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then blocked a shot, which Jessica Allen converted for a lay-in. Before Spanaway Lake could respond, it was a 16-6 game.

Jefferson continued the intensity in the second quarter. The Raiders’ run-and-gun offense went on a 14-2 run to take a 30-10 lead with three minutes to play in the half.

The Raiders made 12 of 14 free throws in the first half and took a 35-14 lead into halftime.

In the second half, Jefferson players showed signs of fatigue, resulting form playing three games in five days.

Less than two minutes into the second half, Michelle Morse returned to the bench when she was whistled for her fourth foul.

But Jefferson was able to utilize its bench players for some big minutes when starters needed a break.

“Thank goodness for depth,” said Jefferson coach Mike Grady.

Jefferson’s bench players contributed 14 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Rachel de la Cruz scored five points and Ashley Osman scored four.

“They stepped up big for us,” Shannon Morse said. “They got the job done when the starters were tired. They stepped up today.”

“We had some funny line-ups out there,” Grady said. “All our people scored, so that’s great. That’s going to help us eventually.”

Jefferson improved to 9-3 in the South Puget Sound League and 13-3 overall. The Raiders are tied with Rogers for first place.

In Jefferson’s three losses — to Rogers, Bethel and Puyallup — the Raiders lost by an average of just 2.3 points. But in its 13 wins, Jefferson has beaten opponents by an average of 17.1 points.

Jefferson senior guard Michelle Morse ranks first in the state in scoring, averaging 21.6 points per game. Morse has scored 303 points in 14 games this season. The next closest scorer is Spanaway Lake’s Terri Ramsey, averaging 16.8 points per game.

Jefferson played Federal Way last night.

The Raiders play at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 1 at Decatur, then play Bethel at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 at Jefferson. The Raiders finish the regular season with a 7:30 p.m. game on Feb. 8 at Curtis.

Curtis 47, Federal Way 45 (OT)

The Federal Way girls basketball team fell to Curtis 47-45 in overtime on Saturday.

Federal Way’s Leta Johnson was fouled and converted two free throws at the end of regulation to tie the game at 39 and send it into overtime.

In the extra period, Curtis outscored Federal Way 8-6 to escape with the win.

Johnson led Federal Way with 13 points. Heleine Kaufusi added 12, Tamara Simpson scored six and Shelby Avaava added five.

Federal Way is 3-10 in the SPSL and 5-12 overall.

The Eagles played at Jefferson last night. They finish the season at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 against Rogers at Federal Way, then against Decatur at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Federal Way.

The Decatur girls basketball team had a bye on Saturday and played Bethel last night.

Decatur is 6-6 in the SPSL and 8-8 overall.

The Gators play Jefferson at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at Decatur. They play Emerald Ridge at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 at Decatur, then finish the season at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Federal Way.

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