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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Federal Way's Raven Benton inks with Long Beach State
Federal Way High School senior Raven Benton will be headed south to play her college basketball. The 5-foot-10 guard, who was a first-team, All-State selection this season, ceremoniously inked her National Letter of Intent to play at Long Beach State University Thursday inside the Federal Way cafeteria.
"I really liked the team, liked the coaches and liked the area," Benton said. "I feel like they are going to push me to my full potential."
Benton had a humongous senior season for the Eagles. She was voted first-team All-State, All-Area and the All-City Most Valuable Player after averaging an eye-popping 26.6 points a game, to lead the state.
Benton finished with nine games of 30 or more points and led Federal Way to a 12-4 season in the South Puget Sound League South Division, which was good for third place. The Eagles advanced into the West Central/Southwest District Tournament, but were eliminated.
"She really led us this season," said Federal Way head coach Josh DeYoe. "She led us in every major offensive category and we wouldn't have been as good as we were without her. We are very proud of her."
Benton scored 638 of Federal Way’s 1,323 points during her senior season (48 percent) and was in double figures in all 24 games. She also averaged 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 steals a game. During her career, Benton finished with 1,304 points and played at a pair of state tournaments.
In the Eagles’ second game of the season, Benton poured in 38 points during a 58-55 win over Rogers and 38 during a 66-65 loss to Kentwood at the SPSL Tournament. She also had games of 37, two of 36, 35, 34 and two 30-point outbursts this season.
As a junior, Benton averaged 15.2 points, leading Federal Way to a 22-6 record and the SPSL South title.
Benton joined Jewelyn Sawyer in signing their National Letters of Intent this week to join the 49ers in the fall. Sawyer hails from Paramount, Calif. Long Beach State also had three early-signees, who round out their 2013-14 recruiting class.
"We are absolutely thrilled to add two very special young women to our already fantastic freshman class," head coach Jody Wynn said. "Both Jewelyn and Raven fit beautifully, in that they are of great character, have family-centered values and work hard both in the classroom and on the basketball court. All five freshmen are tremendous competitors who know how to win, and their versatility fits well within our program."
The 49ers finished the 2012-13 season with a 16-16 overall record and made their first postseason appearance in 13 years. Long Beach received an at-large bid into the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), where they lost to Utah, 56-49, in the opener.
"Raven is a strong, powerful guard who can really score the ball," Wynn said. "She uses her strength and athleticism to get to the rim, and can also shoot the three. She's a physical guard who rebounds extremely well and impacts both ends of the floor."