Sports

Deja Vu: Curtis, Thomas sink Eagles in the end---again

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

It wasn’t a big surprise who had the ball in his hands with the game on the line in Friday night’s South Puget Sound League South Division showdown between Federal Way and Curtis.

Everybody in the gym at Federal Way High School, plus the dozens of fans who couldn’t even get into the sold out arena, knew Curtis’ All-State point guard Isaiah Thomas was going to be taking the final shot.

But that didn’t stop the 5-foot-9 Curtis junior from sticking another dagger in the Eagles’ quest to win their second-straight SPSL South Division championship.

With the game tied at 66-66, Thomas hit a three-pointer from the left edge with three seconds remaining on the clock to keep the Vikings atop the South with the 69-66 win over Federal Way. Thomas finished with 36 points on the night.

“Every time I get the ball in that situation I want to hit a three,” Thomas said. “I wanted to step back and hit the three.”

The loss dropped the Eagles to 12-3 and gives the Vikings (14-1) a two-game lead in the South over Federal Way and Puyallup (13-3) with four games remaining in the regular season. The SPSL Tournament kicks off Feb. 16.

The Eagles’ Pooh Williams got off a pretty good look at the buzzer from 25-feet, but the ball bounced off the front of the rim. The Thomas three-pointer capped a 10-0 Curtis run to end the game.

It was an unlikely victory for the No. 2-ranked Vikings. The Eagles looked like they were going to cruise to the win. Federal Way dominated most of the second half, especially in the third quarter. A jumper by Williams put the Eagles up 55-44 with 3:55 left in the third. But the Vikings, led by nine points from Thomas, went on an 15-4 run to tie the game at 59-59 early in the fourth quarter.

But Federal Way responded with a 7-0 run of their own to take a 66-59 lead with 4:40 left in the game on a three-pointer from Terrell Smith. But those would be the last points the Eagles would put on the scoreboard. Smith finished with 24 points, including six of the Eagles’ eight fourth-quarter points.

After Curtis’ Zeke Hill tied the game at 66-66 on a lay-up with 2:56 left, the pace of play slowed down considerably. Federal Way held the ball for over a minute before Williams missed a 10-foot jumper in the lane with 1:44 left on the game clock.

Curtis then threw the ball around the perimeter while the Eagles sat back in a zone defense before Thomas hit the game-winner, which was nothing new for the Curtis junior.

In the two teams’ first meeting of the season back on Dec. 16, the 5-foot-9 Thomas was fouled with no time left on the clock and calmly sank a pair of free throws to give Curtis a one-point victory on their home court.

Williams, who has already signed a letter of intent to play at Utah State next year, finished with 20 points, but sat out the end of the third and the early fourth quarters after picking up his fourth foul.

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

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