Decatur girls win loser-out contest

The Decatur girls basketball team lived to play another game with a convincing 60-42 win over Auburn in a loser-out game Thursday.

The Gators advance to the second round of the South Puget Sound League playoffs. They face Puyallup (13-8) in a loser-out game at 12:30 p.m. today at Puyallup. The winner advances to the West Central District tournament as the No. 7 seed.

Puyallup was a 57-55 winner over Auburn Riverside Thursday.

Decatur and Puyallup met twice during the regular season and each won one game. Decatur won 55-46 when the teams first played back in December. Puyallup won 44-28 when the teams played Jan. 24.

“We need to play hard for 32 minutes,” said Decatur coach Colby Rogers. “We need to execute on offense and play like our hair is on fire on defense.”

The Jefferson girls basketball team also plays today. The Raiders play against Kentlake at 3:45 p.m. today at Puyallup to decide the SPSL’s No. 3 and No. 4 seeds. Both teams advance to the West Central District Tournament.

Against Auburn, Decatur led 11-6 after the first quarter. The Gators enjoyed a comfortable lead for most of the second quarter until Auburn sophomore guard Adina Lercher hit a 3-pointer with three minutes left in the first half. In a 30-second span, Lercher followed with another 3-pointer, then a steal for two points as she pulled Auburn within three points at 18-15.

Decatur responded to the pressure and took a 27-20 lead into halftime.

The second half was all Decatur, although Auburn continued the offensive pressure.

Decatur led 41-32 after three quarters, but outscored Auburn 19-10 the rest of the game.

“At times we played well,” Rogers said. “The neat thing is, we applied a lot of what we learned over the course of the season — facing adversity, facing pressure, bouncing back when a team makes a run at us.”

Senior guard Gayle Imran, who is usually Decatur’s defensive specialist, led the Gators in scoring with 16 points and three steals.

“I just came ready to play,” Imran said. “I didn’t want this to be my last game ever. That was a big motivator.”

Cristina Null had 10 points and Christine Kim scored six. Sophomore guard Kamrica Ary-Turner scored all of her seven points for Decatur in the fourth quarter.

“It feels really good to win,” Null said. “We went so far my sophomore year, we can do it again if we play hard.”

Decatur advanced to the state tournament two years ago. Null, along with senior Dekeidra Brewer, are the only members of that year’s team left at Decatur. Null said she sees similarities between the two teams.

“We work hard, we don’t give up and we have a strong defense,” Null said. “That’s what we did sophomore year. We kept teams to their lowest point totals of the season.”

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