Decatur boys squeak one out against Curtis in SPSL South showdown

The top-ranked Decatur Gator boys basketball team remained unbeaten with a huge road win over the Curtis Vikings Tuesday in University Place, 45-41.

The low-scoring victory improved the Gators to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the South Puget Sound League South Division and dropped Curtis to 3-2 in league play. The Vikings and Decatur were both predicted to vie for the SPSL South championship during the preseason.

Gator junior Jordan McCloud finished with 12 points and eight rebounds and senior guard Marcus Tibbs had 16 points.

Curtis rolled out to a 15-12 lead before Decatur went on a 9-0 run in the second quarter. The Gators led 27-23 at halftime and extended the lead to nine points with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.

The 10th-ranked Vikings, however, fought back to take a one-point lead with six minutes left in the game, 37-36. But Decatur outscored Curtis, 9-4, down the stretch to pick up the win.

The Gators and Puyallup are the lone unbeaten teams in the SPSL South. The two teams play for the first time on Jan. 10 in Puyallup. Decatur's final game before the Christmas break will be against Bethel (1-3, 1-5) Friday in Federal Way.

Beamer (3-1, 4-3) handed Bethel a loss Tuesday night, 65-45, thanks to 21 points from Vlad Aficiuc and 20 from senior Kevin Davis. The Titans jumped out to a 23-10 after the first quarter and continued to pour it on.

The No. 4-ranked Federal Way Eagles boys basketball team got back on track Tuesday night. The Eagles downed previously unbeaten Auburn, 79-68, in a South Puget Sound League North Division showdown in Auburn.

Federal Way (3-1, 3-1) got 23 points from senior guard Jeff Forbes, including four 3-pointers. Senior Michael Hale chipped in 15 points, six assists, four steals and three rebounds and junior Cole Dickerson had 11 points and 12 rebounds. Jaleel "Q" Williams, a 6-foot-5 transfer from Texas, had the best game of his young career at Federal Way with 14 points, including 10 in the second half.

Federal Way, which came into the season as the No. 1-ranked Class 4A team in the state, suffered their first loss of the season Saturday to Kentridge.

Auburn led early, 19-17, after the first quarter, but the Eagles battled back to take a 34-33 lead at the half. Federal Way extended the lead during a decisive third quarter by outscoring the Trojans, 24-13.

The loss by Auburn (4-1, 5-1) left four teams in the SPSL North with one loss, including Kentridge and Kentwood. The Eagles take on Jefferson (3-2, 4-2) Friday night in their final SPSL North game before the Christmas break. The Raiders were beaten by Kentwood Tuesday night, 66-43. Jefferson got 17 points from Spenser Sydney.

SPSL Girls Basketball

The upstart Thomas Jefferson Raiders just couldn't keep up with the unbeaten Kentwood Conquerors. The No. 2-ranked Conks beat TJ Tuesday night, 74-57. It was the first loss of the season by the Raiders (4-1 in the SPSL North, 6-1 overall).

Kentwood took a 39-23 lead at halftime and cruised in the third and fourth quarters. Jefferson was led by the 22 points of senior Stacy Albrecht and Hannah Kiyohara and Unique Taufa'asau both tallied 11 points.

The Raiders will take on Federal Way Friday night at home in both teams' final SPSL North Division game before the Christmas break.

The Eagles improved to 2-2 in the North and 4-2 overall with a 69-46 win over Auburn Tuesday in Federal Way.

The Eagles had four players score in double figures, led by the 23 points of sophomore guard Brittany Barrington. Jacqie Evenson finished with 14 and Darah Huertes-Vining and Amanda Earlywine both scored 10 points each.

The Decatur girls continue to be the biggest surprise in the SPSL South Division. The Gators, who won a total of one game last season and none in the SPSL South, improved to 3-1 in the division with a 55-53 win over the Curtis Vikings Tuesday in Federal Way.

Decatur got 21 points from Sarah Quantz and had a total of six players score at least four points, including eight each by Abby McFaul and Jade Woodke.

The Gators took control of the game in the second quarter by outscoring Curtis, 15-4, during the eight minutes. The Vikings almost came back in the fourth quarter by scoring 26 points, but it wasn't enough.

Beamer fell to 1-3 in the SPSL South with a heart-breaking loss to Bethel Tuesday night, 54-53. The Titans had a 45-37 lead entering the fourth quarter, but Bethel (1-2, 1-4) outscored Beamer, 17-8, during the final eight minutes.

Mercedes Sullivan led the Titans with 16 points. Meghan Graf (11 points) and Shyla Akins (10) also scored in double figures.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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