Lake Stevens ends Decatur's season Thursday, 59-56

Decatur High School senior Cam Schilling battles with Gonzaga Prep defenders during Wednesday
Decatur High School senior Cam Schilling battles with Gonzaga Prep defenders during Wednesday's Gator loss at the Class 4A State Boys Basketball Tournament at the Tacoma Dome. The loss knocked the Gators into the consolation bracket.
— image credit: Casey Olson/staff photo

A lot of people in-the-know thought the Decatur Gators' run at the 2009 Class 4A State Boys Basketball Tournament would end Saturday night with them cutting down the nets at the Tacoma Dome.

But things don't always go as planned.

The third-ranked Gators' dream of winning the 2009 state championship came to crashing halt Thursday afternoon at the hands of the Lake Stevens Vikings, 59-56. Decatur (21-6) was dropped into the consolation bracket with a 60-54 loss Wednesday night by the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups.

Things went south for the Gators Thursday afternoon against Lake Stevens (21-5) with 3:11 left in the fourth quarter. That's when Decatur senior guard Marcus Tibbs picked up his fifth foul and was sent to the bench. The Gators were up 56-52 at the time and went scoreless for the remainder of the game.

Sophomore wing Jerron Smith attempted an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer, but the game-tying shot missed the mark. Junior Jordan McCloud led Decatur with 18 points and Smith and Tibbs both tallied 13.

Lake Stevens' Sean Stickney hit a pair of free throws with 17.4 seconds remaining in the game to give the Vikings the 59-56 lead. The Gators had no answer for Stickney, a 6-foot-4 forward. Stickney finished with 30 points, 18 rebounds and five assists on 12 of 17 from the field.

Decatur shook off a sluggish first half by outscoring Lake Stevens, 20-5, during the third quarter to overcome a 35-30 halftime deficit.

Gonzaga Prep 60, Decatur 54 (Wednesday),/b>

Things started out almost perfectly for the third-ranked Decatur Gators Wednesday night in their Class 4A State Boys Basketball opener against Gonzaga Prep.

But things ended badly for the Gators. The Greater Spokane League champion Bullpups knocked Decatur into the consolation bracket with a 60-54 win inside the Tacoma Dome. The loss ended the Gators' dream of playing for the Class 4A championship.

The Gators exploded out of the box with a pair of early 3-pointers by Tibbs and Smith to take a 6-0 lead before the Bullpups score a point. But it got even better from there. Decatur tallied the next 11 points of the game to take a commanding 17-2 lead with 2:40 left in the first quarter.

But that was as good as it would get for the Gators. Gonzaga Prep used lethal 3-point and free-throw shooting to fight back from the first-quarter deficit.

The Bullpups, led by the decision making of senior point guard David Stockton, outscored Decatur 29-9 after the Gators' game-starting run to take a 31-26 lead at halftime.

The third quarter was back and forth with Decatur taking a 43-42 lead on a McCloud layup with 2:31 remaining in the quarter. But that was the last time Decatur would lead. The Bullpups hit 10 of 11 free throws during the fourth quarter to seal the win, including 6 of 6 in the final 1:19 after a Tibbs layup tied the game at 54-54.

Decatur did have a couple chances to take the lead in the final minute, but a pair of Smith 3-pointers missed the mark.

The Gators' big three of Tibbs, Smith and McCloud combined to score 52 of Decatur's 54 points during the game. Tibbs finished with 19, Smith added 18 and McCloud chipped in 15.

Gonzaga Prep was led by the 23 points of Ryan Nicholas and Stockson finished with 13.

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