Decatur's season ends against Kentridge

The Decatur boys basketball team ended its season Thursday with a first-round loss in the South Puget Sound League playoffs at Puyallup.

The Gators fell 70-53 to Kentridge in a loser-out game.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the outcome,” said Decatur coach Kevin Olson. “I don’t know if we’re worn out mentally from the previous games or what. There’s a lot of excuses you could make, but they outplayed us. We didn’t play with intensity and we were sloppy with the ball.”

Kentridge led 20-9 after the first quarter and maintained the lead for the rest of the game.

Decatur struggled to get rebounds while Kentridge was led by the 27 rebounds of 6-foot-4 junior forward Joey Henley. The Gators were often hesitant on offense and didn’t penetrate to the basket.

Every time Decatur started to make a comeback, Kentridge had an answer.

Decatur cut the lead to 26-15 when senior guard Larry Kier hit a 3-pointer with 3:30 left in the first half, but Kentridge reeled off the next five points to keep the lead. Kentridge led 37-21 at halftime.

The Gators couldn’t find a consistent scoring threat in the first half, as seven players all had one field goal apiece. All 11 players for Decatur ended up scoring, but eight of those players had just one field goal in the game.

Decatur senior Brandon Hicks picked up the slack toward the end of the third quarter — scoring nine points in the final three minutes — but still Kentridge ended the quarter with a 55-35 lead.

Hicks finished the game with 15 points. Junior Steven Patenaude had 10 points for Decatur. James Van Stralen scored six points.

Decatur won a tie-breaker game against Emerald Ridge 52-47 on Tuesday to earn the SPSL South Division’s No. 5 seed to the SPSL playoffs.

“It was a real war, very physical,” Olson said. “Both teams knew each other very well.”

Emerald Ridge led early, but Decatur picked up the intensity and fought back to take the lead.

“Alonzo (Akres) decided it didn’t matter if he got fouled, he was going to score anyway,” Olson said. “And Patenaude came out in the second half and made a difference.”

Against Emerald Ridge, Van Stralen was the core of Decatur’s defense, making five blocks and taking two charges.

“We didn’t want to be the team not to make the SPSL playoffs,” Olson said. “That was our biggest goal. Decatur has been there eight years in a row and we didn’t want to be the team to break that.”

Decatur won its final three games of the regular season to force a tiebreaker with Emerald Ridge. Decatur finished the season with an 8-14 record.

“I’m proud of our guys for getting here,” Olson said. “Midway through the season, outside our locker room, no one gave us a chance to get here. We won four loser-out games. You knew it was going to end sometime.”

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