Sports

Piper-Jordan buries Eastlake at state

By CASEY OLSON

Sports Editor

It is what every boy who ever picks up a basketball dreams of, and Andre Piper-Jordan got to live it out on the biggest stage in high school basketball.

Piper-Jordan’s 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded Thursday afternoon pushed the Federal Way boys basketball team to an unlikely win over the Eastlake Wolves, 64-63, at Thursday’s Class 4A state basketball championships inside the Tacoma Dome.

“It was the greatest feeling in the world,” said Piper-Jordan following the consolation-bracket game.

Piper-Jordan’s shot was the culmination of a 16-point second-half comeback for the Eagles, who improved to a perfect 9-0 in loser-out games in the past two seasons.

“Our first option was that guy over there,” Piper-Jordan said, pointing to fellow senior Myron Hennings. “He wasn’t open and Nate (Sanchez) was sealed off down low, so the ball came back to me and I was wide open. I saw there was two seconds left so I knew that I had to do something. So I shot it.”

The win moved the Eagles through to yesterday’s round after a 55-42 first-round loss to the undefeated Mead Panthers knocked them into the loser’s bracket Wednesday afternoon. The Eagles played Walla Walla yesterday. Check www.fedwaymirror.com for results. If they won, they play again at 11:30 a.m. today against the winner of a game between Bethel and South Kitsap.

Trailing 60-47 with 5:18 to go in the fourth quarter against Eastlake, the Eagles used five 3-pointers, including two from Hennings, to get back into contention. Federal Way’s defense also clamped down on the Wolves. The Eagles held Eastlake without a field goal during that run. The Wolves’ only points –– three –– came from the free-throw line.

Federal Way fell behind early, thanks to some solid long-range shooting from the Wolves’ guards. Eastlake’s backcourt tandem of Nick Livi and Jason Williams combined for 29 points in the first half, including 6-of-8 from behind the 3-point line, to give the Wolves a 40-24 halftime lead.

Sanchez finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Hennings tallied 20 and Piper-Jordan added 16.

Mead 55, Federal Way 42

The Eagles played the No. 1-ranked and undefeated Panthers tough in Wednesday’s opening round action at the Tacoma Dome. Federal Way held a 24-23 lead at the half, but couldn’t contain Mead’s Adam Morrison in the second half.

The 6-foot-7 senior bound for Gonzaga University in the fall tallied 19 points in the final two quarters and had 34 for the game. He also added 13 rebounds and four blocked shots.

“He’s definitely a great player,” said Sanchez. “He has a great shot.”

Sanchez was a big part of FW coach Jerome Collins’ game plan coming into the matchup with Mead. Collins wanted to slow the game down against the explosive Panthers and pound the ball inside to the 6-foot-7 Sanchez. The plan worked well in the first half, which saw Sanchez pour in 14 of the Eagles’ 24 points.

“We did a good job of controlling the tempo,” Collins said. “But in the second half we came out and didn’t control the ball and that gave them momentum and Nate didn’t finish inside at the rim.”

Sanchez tallied only five points in the second half to finish with 19.

“We really shored things up on the Sanchez kid in the second half,” said Mead coach Glenn Williams.

Also hurting the Eagles was a 6:36 scoreless stretch in the third and fourth quarters. With 4:02 left in the third, Hennings hit a three to pull Federal Way to within one point, 33-32. Those were the Eagles’ only points until a Sanchez layup with 5:34 remaining cut the Mead lead to 48-34.

“If the shots go down, you got a different ball game,” said Collins. “But I am a firm believer in making your own breaks. And we didn’t.”

Hennings finished with 14 points and Piper-Jordan added seven for Federal Way.

“I think we gave them a little scare,” Sanchez said. “We just weren’t able to execute in the second half.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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