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Boys basketball: Decatur, Beamer and Federal Way all win opening-round games at West Central Districts
The Decatur Gators needed a little home cooking to get back on track. And that's exactly what they got Wednesday night in the opening round of the highly-competitive West Central District Tournament.
After losing two-straight games at last week's league tournament by double digits, the Gators squeaked by Olympia in overtime, 70-67. The victory left Decatur one win away from the program's fourth trip in a row to the Class 4A State Boys Basketball Tournament.
The Gators (15-8) will take on Kentwood at 6 p.m. at Auburn High School Friday. The Conquerors destroyed Decatur at the South Puget Sound League Tournament last Thursday, 62-42.
"After the poor performance we needed to come home," head coach Kevin Olson said. "We wouldn't have beat (Olympia) at their place. That's for sure. It was huge being home."
It as also huge having the services of junior Jerron Smith and senior Jordan McCloud. The pair combined to score 59 of the Gators' 70 points Wednesday night, including all nine of Decatur's points during the four-minute overtime session.
"It feels great," said Smith, who finished with a career-high 35 points and 10 rebounds. "We got a win and we only need one more to get to state."
The win over Olympia was especially big for Smith, the Gators' leading scorer all season. The 6-foot-3 wing had trouble finding his shooting touch during the SPSL Tournament, including a 1-for-14 night from the field in the loss to Kentwood.
"I struggled with my shot the last two games," Smith said. "It was nice to make some shots when we really needed them."
The 6-foot-5 McCloud continued his steady play with 24 points and 14 rebounds.
"It was nice to make some shots tonight," Olson said. "Jerron was knocking down shots and Jordan was too. Those two are our stars and we need them to play big to win and they did."
Despite the huge nights from Smith and McCloud, the Gators were somewhat lucky to escape with the win against Olympia, the fifth seed from the Narrows League.
With the score tied at 61-61, Olympia's Alex Weber-Brader missed a point-blank layup with just 2 seconds on the clock, sending the game to overtime. Smith tied the game by converting one of two free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining.
Smith scored the Gators' final nine points during the last 4:24 of regulation, including a pair of huge 3-pointers.
"Winning that first game at districts is big," Olson said. "You don't want to lose your opener and then have to win three straight to get to state."
Beamer 56, Curtis 52
The third time was the charm for the unranked Titans Wednesday night against the South Puget Sound League South Division champion Vikings. After losing both of their regular season meetings by double digits, Beamer got the best of Curtis in University Place in the opening round of the West Central District Tournament.
A three-point play by junior guard Napa Mefi with 3.2 seconds remaining in the game sealed the 56-52 win for the Titans and left them one victory away from playing at the program's second consecutive trip to the Class 4A state tournament.
Beamer (16-6) takes on the Narrows League champion Lincoln Abes at 6 p.m. at Auburn High School Friday night with a state berth on the line. Lincoln beat Auburn in their opener, 67-61.
Mefi, who finished with 20 points, also made a huge defensive play down the stretch to help Beamer win. Trailing 52-51 with 30 seconds remaining, Mefi stole a Curtis pass and hit Beamer forward Kevin Davis with a perfect pass for an alley-oop dunk to give the Titans their first lead of the second half, 53-52.
After a Curtis timeout, it was senior Terrelle Loggins who stole a pass, leading to Mefi's three-point play and the win. Davis, the MVP of the SPSL South, finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Titans.
The loss was the Vikings' third in a row after rolling through the regular season 19-1. Curtis plays a loser-out game at 8 p.m. Friday against Auburn. Devonte Lacy finished with 20 points to lead the Vikings.
The two teams went back and forth during the first quarter, before the Titans took a 14-12 lead into the second quarter. But that's when things got a little ugly for Beamer and Curtis on the offensive end of the court.
The Titans finished just 3 of 16 from the field during the second quarter and the Vikings hit just 2 of 13. The teams' went into the locker room at the half tied at 20-20.
Wednesday was a day of firsts for the Titans. It was actually Beamer's first-ever win over Curtis. It was also the first game at the new gymnasium at Curtis High School.
Federal Way 82, Bethel 37
The reigning West Central District champions had no problem at all with the Braves Wednesday night at Federal Way High School in an opening round game. Senior Cole Dickerson led five Eagles in double figures with 20 points. The defending state champions can secure another trip to the state tournament with a win over Bellarmine Prep Friday. Federal Way will take on the Lions at 8 p.m. at Foss High School. Bellarmine finished as the third seed from the Narrows League.
Federal Way (21-1) dominated the SPSL's 10th seed all night long. The Eagles outscored the Braves 22-1 during the second quarter to take a 45-13 lead at halftime.
George Williams finished with a career-high 18 points, Isiah Umipig finished with 13, Robert Christopher chipped in 12 and junior Tyrell Lewis ended up with 10 points for Federal Way.
West Central District Tournament
No. 5 Kentwood 55, Gig Harbor 43
Decatur 70, Olympia 67 (OT)
Beamer 56, No. 6 Curtis 52
No. 10 Lincoln 67, Auburn 61
Wilson 56, Auburn Riverside 49
Puyallup 68, Mount Tahoma 66
Bellarmine Prep 62, Kentridge 59 (2 OT)
No. 1 Federal Way 82, Bethel 37
Quarterfinals (all games winner to state)
at Auburn High School, Friday
Kentwood vs. Decatur, 6 p.m.
Beamer vs. Lincoln, 8 p.m.
at Foss, Friday
Wilson vs. Puyallup, 6 p.m.
Bellarmine vs. Federal Way
Consolation Bracket (all games loser-out)
at Stadium, Friday
Gig Harbor vs. Olympia, 6 p.m.
Curtis vs. Auburn, 8 p.m.
at Puyallup, Friday
Auburn Riverside vs. Mount Tahoma, 6 p.m.
Kentridge vs. Bethel, 8 p.m.