Sports

Brown, Miller shoot Decatur by Rogers

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

The Decatur boys basketball team seems to have figured things out. The Gators won their third straight game Friday night, 75-65, over the Rogers Rams at home. The win moves Decatur to 3-2 in the South Puget Sound League South Division.

“This was a huge game for us going into the holiday break,” said Decatur head coach Kevin Olson. “I really like the way we are playing right now.”

That wasn’t the coach’s sentiment after the Gators’ first two games of the season. Decatur was blasted by Emerald Ridge (59-35) and Curtis (74-49) earlier this year. Olson chalks those losses up to being a very inexperienced and young team.

“We are getting a lot better,” Olson said. “I knew that we were going to take some lumps early and now we are starting to figure it out and play together.”

The emergence of 6-foot-4 forward LaRon Brown and the play of 6-foot Oregon transfer James Miller have been keys to the turnaround. The pair combined for 49 of the Gators’ 75 points Friday night against Rogers. But the two are doing more than just scoring points.

Brown had one of the best games in the SPSL this season. The junior, who played on the Gators’ C-team last season, tallied 30 points on 14-of-15 shooting from the field, grabbed 10 rebounds and had two blocked shots.

“He is playing great,” Olson said. “He’s just phenomenal around the basket. He has worked so hard and he just has great hands.”

Miller, who had 33 points in a Dec. 14 win over Jefferson, also had an impressive stat line against Rogers. The senior had 19 points, seven rebounds, six steals and five assists.

Decatur played an almost flawless first half against Rogers. The Gators jumped out to a 19-11 lead after the first quarter led by eight points from Brown and a buzzer-beating layup by Stedman Richardson. Decatur extended the advantage to 38-20 at the half thanks to a 12-0 run midway through the second quarter.

“That was probably the best half we’ve played all year,” Olson said. “We came out knowing this was a huge game.”

The Gators hung on in the second half thanks to Brown and Miller. The pair tallied Decatur’s final 17 points of the game — 12 by Miller.

Rogers was led by the 35 points of senior guard Brandon Gibson, including 17 in the fourth quarter. Gibson was playing in front of a pair of coaches from the Washington State University football team. He will play wide receiver for the Cougars in the fall.

Decatur (75) — Brown 30, Miller 19, Stedman Richardson 8, Travis Wagner 8, Marcus Hudson 5, Phil Asemota 2, Brad Reid 2, Andrew Kim 1.

Rogers (65) — Gibson 35, Besterman 11, Gallagher 6, Colbo 4, Grapenthin 4, Daybell 3, Jacobson 2.

Federal Way

The Eagles picked up a huge win Friday night over the Curtis Vikings at home, 71-68. The win moves Federal Way into a three-way tie for the top spot in the SPSL South with Bethel and Puyallup. All three teams are 4-1.

Curtis came into the game with a 3-1 record in the South, the No. 8-ranking in Class 4A and were fresh off a double-overtime win over then No. 1-ranked Bethel.

Federal Way seemed to be in total control of the game holding a 64-55 lead after a junior Earnest Williams dunk with less than four minutes left. But the Vikings came back. Curtis’ Alex Seymour scored with 4.1 seconds left to cut the Eagle lead to 70-67. Williams then fouled Curtis sophomore guard Isaiah Thomas with 3.4 seconds left.

Thomas made the first free throw, but missed the second. Federal Way’s Anwar Asadi got the rebound and was quickly fouled. The senior made one of two free throws with 2.6 seconds to put the Eagles up 71-68. Thomas’ half-court shot bounced off the front of the rim at the buzzer.

Federal Way jumped out to a 25-20 lead after the first quarter and a 38-31 halftime advantage thanks to the hot-shooting of Morris Anderson. In the first half, the senior had four three-pointers, scoring 15 of his game-high 19 points. Williams, the Eagles’ leading scorer, was right on his season average with 18 points.

Federal Way won’t play again until a Jan. 4 game at home against Emerald Ridge.

Federal Way (71) — Anderson 19, Williams 18, Asadi 8, Jon Flood 7, Terrell Smith 7, Marcus Wright 7, Gabriel Holman 5.

Curtis (68) — Gibbs 15, Seymour 12, Greene 10, Thomas 10, Williams 9, Sprinker 7, Hill 3, Coyne 2.

Beamer

The Todd Beamer Titans had no answers for one of the best Class 4A basketball teams in the state. The Bethel Braves dominated the Titans 68-19 Friday night.

Bethel raced out to a 20-0 lead after the first quarter thanks to stifling defense against the outmanned Titans. The Braves feature two 6-foot-8 players, Alex Tiefenthaler and Brandon Moore, who changed numerous shots from the much-smaller Beamer lineup. The Titans’ tallest starter is 6-2.

Beamer was led by the six points of senior point guard Ryan Bellessa.

Bethel (68) — Tiefenthaler 13, Sutton 10, Cattage 9, Betschart 8, Moore 8, Stanley 8, Purugganan 4, Yusko 3, Hogue 4.

Beamer (19) — Bellessa 6, Carsten Bocchi 5, Daniel Young 3, Jermaine Parker 2, Evan Thomas 2, Allen Brooks 1.

Jefferson

The Thomas Jefferson boys basketball team remained winless on the season with an 80-67 loss to the Spanaway Lake Sentinels Friday night. The loss drops the Raiders to 0-5 in the SPSL South and 0-6 overall.

Spanaway Lake used a strong second quarter to blow the game open. The Sentinels outscored the Raiders 23-13 in the second to take a 12-point lead into halftime. But Jefferson tried to come back in the third quarter by cutting the Spanaway Lake lead to 53-46 entering the fourth quarter.

Jefferson was led by the career-high 25 points of junior Todd Muecklisch. Travis Warnock added 13 and Chris Grove chipped in 10 points. Spanaway Lake had four players in double figures, led by the 21 of A.J. Tea.

Spanaway Lake (80) — Tea 21, Snowden 18, Carbuilido 17, Norman 10, Johanson 5, Graham 4, Jackson 3, Easterly 2.

Jefferson (67) — Muecklisch 25, Travis Warnock 13, Chris Grove 10, Erik Church 5, Amrinder Singh 5, Aaron Borth 4, Tanuj Soni 3, Jason Summers 2.

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