Federal Way jumps back in playoff race


News intern

The Federal Way boys basketball team got a big road win over the Decatur Gators in the rugged South Puget Sound League South Division Friday night.

With a controlling 65-58 victory in the Gator Dome, the Eagles (5-3 in the South, 7-3 overall) kept their playoff hopes alive and kicking, while making Decatur’s (3-5, 4-6) look awfully bleak.

“It’s a tough place to play in,” said Federal Way coach Jerome Collins. “It took a lot of concentration from the guys to make the win happen.”

Decatur didn’t make the win easy. Despite being down by double-digits almost the entire game, the Gators made a charge with just five minutes left.

Led by 6-foot-8 senior Kellen McCaffrey, Decatur put together a 10-2 scoring run and stunned the Eagles as they brought the score to within four. McCaffrey scored eight of the 10 and finished the game with a game-high 25.

“It’s like we finally realized what it was going to take to win,” said Decatur senior Kyle Tait.

From there, Decatur and Federal Way started to exchange baskets, turnovers and missed shots, while the scores reached 60-56 and 62-58.

In the end, despite the momentum swing in the fourth, Decatur was unable to cap their comeback. The stingy Eagle defense got back in a grove and ceased the threat.

“You expect them to make a run, but we lost our concentration and had a lot of unforced turnovers. We let them back in the game,” Collins said.

Up until that point, Federal Way had kept their concentration and was completely undaunted by Decatur. They kept their game simple by playing tough defense, charging the boards and getting the ball to the open man for the shot — all things Decatur was struggling to do.

Federal Way started the game with a 12-5 scoring run and ended the first quarter up nine, 21-12.

Senior Darius Alo, the SPSL South’s third-leading scorer at 18 a game, led the charge for the Eagles at the start with eight points in the first three minutes. Alo ended with 16 points, while junior Morris Anderson tallied 20 to lead the Eagles. Fellow junior Elon Langston, a transfer from Decatur, knocked down 10 of his own.

The Eagles didn’t budge in the second and continually swarmed the Gators offense. Gator coach Kevin Olson admits it took a while before his players gained their cool.

“We lost our composure and just started to panic,” Olson said. “Hats off to Federal Way though, they are a heck of a team. The pressure they put on a basketball team is tough to match.”

At half, Federal Way was up 37-25 and showed no indications if slowing their pace. To start the third, the teams took turns scoring without Decatur’s deficit ever really wavering.

Not until deep in the fourth and down by a dozen did Decatur find any type of spark. And when it did come, it was too little too late.

“We made the stops when we needed to at the end there,” said Collins. “It’s a good win, I’m proud of these kids.”

Federal Way (65) — Morris Anderson 20, Darius Alo 16, Elon Langston 10, Marcus Wright 5, C.J. Green 4, London Carter 3, Greg Warren 3, Michael Brooks 2, Michael Holiday 2.

Decatur (58) — Kellen McCaffrey 25, Nick Isaac 10, Travis Wagner 10, Kyle Tait 6, Kevin Dotson 5, Anwar Asadi 2.

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