Gators' 'D' keys playoff win


Associate editor

The Decatur girls basketball team, which had lost four out of its last five league games, put the brakes on the losing skid and regained control of the season in time for the playoffs.

The Gators won a loser-out playoff game 46-36 over Auburn Thursday.

“We were here last year, against Auburn in this gym,” Decatur junior Kamrica Ary-Turner said. “We have the experience. We have a good history here and we didn’t have anything to lose.”

Decatur plays Curtis at 11 a.m. today at Auburn High School in another loser-out game. Curtis was a 32-28 winner over Kent Meridian in Thursday’s first round of the South Puget Sound League tournament.

Jefferson, which finished No. 2 in the SPSL South, plays Enumclaw at 2:25 p.m. today at Auburn for the chance to be the SPSL’s No. 3 seed to districts.

“We’ve been on kind of a losing streak,” Decatur junior Nicole Collins said. “It’s nice we could pull together as a team. We’ve played Curtis twice. We know what we need to do. We can get it done.”

Decatur and Curtis split the regular-season series, each team winning on its home court. Today’s winner will be the SPSL’s No. 7 seed to the West Central District Tournament, which starts Thursday.

“It’s going to be a great game,” Decatur coach Colby Rogers said. “Whichever team wins will represent well and be a strong No. 7 seed at districts.”

The Gators feel they can compete with Curtis. One key will be slowing down Laina Sobczak, who scored 19 of the team’s 32 points against Kent-Meridian.

“I’m comfortable playing Curtis,” Ary-Turner said. “I think we’re going to be fine.”

In Thursday’s game, the Gators held Auburn to just six points in both the first and third quarters, mostly due to defensive pressure. Decatur forced nine Auburn turnovers in the first quarter and 10 in the third quarter.

“We switch up our defense a lot,” Collins said. “It scares the other team because they don’t know what’s coming. They turned the ball over a lot and gave us a lot of possessions.”

Ary-Turner led Decatur with 16 points and Amanda Font scored 11.

Rogers said the difference between the Gators winning or losing came down to free throws and turnovers.

“When we were winning we made about 14 or 15 turnovers a game,” he said. “When we were losing, that number was up to 20 to 22. It’s all about quality possessions. When you turn it over, you’re not getting quality possessions.”

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