Sports

Eagles overpower Decatur

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

It was a game that lived up to the hype that inevitably comes whenever the Federal Way and Decatur boys basketball programs meet.

But, in the end, the Eagles were just too talented for Decatur Friday night. Federal Way moved to 7-2 on the season with a solid 89-81 win over Decatur on their home court. The Eagles had to work for the victory, however. The Gators cut an 18-point, second-quarter lead to four by halftime and trailed 70-66 with 4:56 left in the game.

The victory puts Federal Way in third place in the South Puget Sound League South Division behind unbeaten Curtis and 7-1 Puyallup. The loss dropped the Gators to 5-3 in the South.

“It was a fun game to be a part of,” said Decatur head coach Kevin Olson. “Losing is hard to take, but we’ve got a lot of season left and we’ll get another shot at them at our place in February.”

The Gators gave the sixth-ranked Eagles everything they could handle Friday night. But Federal Way’s two stars — Terrell Smith and Earnest “Pooh” Williams — were pretty much unstoppable for the Decatur defense.

The tandem, who both entered the game averaging well over 20 points a game, combined for 62 of the Eagles’ 89 points. Both Smith (31 points) and Williams (31) also converted huge shots to negate several Decatur runs

“We really couldn’t guard Williams and Smith one-on-one,” Olson said. “They each hit some tough shots.”

Williams, who has already signed a national letter of intent to play next year at Utah State, set the pace early with 19 points in the first half and Smith, a junior, poured in 23 points in the decisive second half.

“(We) are two very good teams,” Olson said. “We made more mistakes than they did and they shot the ball better than we did.”

Federal Way made a total of 14 three-pointers during the game, including six by Williams, and the Gators were only 7 of 17 from the free-throw line.

The Eagles looked like they were going to run the Gators out of the gym midway through the first quarter. After Decatur jumped out to a 9-6 lead, Federal Way erupted on a 16-4 run to end the quarter up 22-13.

The Eagles extended the lead to 35-17 following a three-pointer by Williams with 4:50 left in the first half. The Gators failed to convert on several easy shots during Federal Way’s run.

But that’s when Decatur used a momentum-turning run of their own to get back into the game. The Gators outscored Federal Way 19-3 to pull within two points before a Smith jumper with 18.5 seconds in the first half gave the Eagles a 40-36 lead at the break.

“I was happy with our effort, our battle through their blitz and our overall composure versus their pressure,” Olson said. “I think our rally in the second quarter gave us confidence.”

The two teams played back and forth during the third quarter before a Kim free throw with 1:43 left tied the game at 56-56.

But Smith and Williams were too much down the stretch. Smith was especially tough in the second half when the 6-foot-5 junior tallied 23 of his 31 points. Smith also chipped in 11 assists and five rebounds.

“We started doubling those guys to get the ball out of their hands and that got us back in the game,” Olson said.

Federal Way’s Stephen Sealy was also lethal from behind the three-point line. The senior chipped in 12 points on four three-pointers and also had six assists for the Eagles.

Decatur got another big game from 6-4 junior Darious Walker off the bench. Walker recorded his third double-double in the past four games with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Travis Wagner and Stedman Richardson also contributed 19 points apiece, while Andrew Kim dished out 12 assists to go along with his eight points.

Richardson scored Decatur’s first nine points of the game.

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

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