Sports

State basketball: Jackson, Kingsma shoot by Decatur in quarterfinals after opening with win over Davis

Decatur junior Jerron Smith finished with 13 points during Thursday night
Decatur junior Jerron Smith finished with 13 points during Thursday night's loss to Jackson in the state quarterfinals in Tacoma. Smith tallied 31 points in the Gators' opening-round win over Davis Wednesday.
— image credit: Casey Olson/The Mirror

The Decatur Gators were staring right at a possible semifinal matchup with cross-district rival Federal Way.

But the Jackson Timberwolves and their star Brett Kingma weren't about to let that happen Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A State Boys Basketball Tournament. Kingma, the state's leading scorer, led Jackson to a 58-54 win inside the Tacoma Dome.

With the game knotted at 54-54, Kingma floated in an unbelievable 3-point shot with just 1.8 seconds remaining in the game. And to make matters worse for Decatur, the junior was also fouled on the play. Kingma, who finished with a game-high 25 points, calmly stepped up to the free-throw line and made the shot to give Jackson an insurmountable four-point lead.

The loss drops the Gators into the consolation bracket, where they will take on the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups at 2 p.m. Friday. The best they can do is a fourth-place finish.

Decatur controlled the early part of the game, building a 14-5 lead with 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter. But Jackson battled back during the second quarter to take a 29-25 lead at halftime.

But the Gators, behind the play of Jordan McCloud and Jerron Smith outscored Jackson 15-11 during the third quarter to tie the game up at 40-40 entering the final eight minutes.

MCloud finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for the Gators and Smith followed up the 31 points he scored in Decatur's opening-round win over Stanwood Wednesday with 13.

Decatur 50, Davis 47 (Wednesday)

It wasn't the prettiest game. But a win's a win and the Decatur Gators will take them any way they can get them, especially on the first day of the Class 4A State Boys Basketball Tournament.

The Gators escaped with one of those elusive victories Wednesday afternoon inside the Tacoma Dome when they beat the Davis Pirates from Yakima, 50-47.

"I'll take that one," said McCloud.

Decatur looked like they were going to cruise into the quarterfinals, but Davis wasn't about to go quietly. The Pirates used a frantic fourth-quarter run to cut a 16-point Gator lead to just one when Cooper Kupp nailed a 3-pointer to make it 48-47 with 1:00 left in the game.

After a Decatur miss, Davis got possession back and missed a pair of potential go-ahead shots before the Gators' Terrell Williams snagged the rebound and was fouled with 4.2 seconds remaining.

After missing the front end of the one-and-one from the free-throw line, Decatur senior Anthony Williams came away with the rebound and calmly sank both free throws to give the Gators the three-point lead with 2.3 seconds left. Davis' attempt at tying the game at the buzzer fell just short.

"We just wanted to keep it exciting for the fans," said Decatur head coach Kevin Olson with a sigh of relief.

Olson and the Decatur offense relied heavily on Smith, who finished with a game-high 31 points. Smith converted 10 of 12 free throws and was 10 of 24 from the field. He also grabbed six rebounds.

"He's our leading scorer and other players look to him and Jordan to lead us," Olson said. "Those guys have to lead us and they did today."

McCloud, a 6-foot-5 senior and the Gators' second leading scorer, finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds against Davis, but was just 3 of 19 from the field. But McCloud wasn't alone in not being able to put the ball in the basket Wednesday. Decatur finished just 16 of 61 (26 percent) from the field, including just 1 of 11 from behind the 3-point line.

Davis wasn't much better at 20 for 64 (31 percent). The difference came at the free-throw line. The Gators made 17 free throws on the day, compared to just two by the Pirates.

The game was back and forth during the first half. Decatur led 12-11 after the first quarter before ending the second quarter on a mini 9-4 run to go into the locker room up 22-17 at half. Smith finished with 10 points to lead the Gators.

The third quarter is when Decatur took control. The Gators outscored Davis 18-9 during the eight minutes, thanks to 13 third-quarter points from Smith. The junior also tallied a pair of baskets to start the fourth quarter to give Decatur a commanding 46-31 lead with 5:53 left.

But that was the last field goal the Gators would convert during the remainder of the game. Decatur's final six points all came from the free-throw line.

The Pirates got back into the game from behind the 3-point line. Davis hit four fourth-quarter 3's to cut into the Gator lead.

"I knew that we could outwork them," McCloud said. "But we came out happy after halftime and they slowed us down."

Wednesday was Anthony Williams' first game during the postseason. He sat out the last six games because of academic issues, according to Olson. The 6-foot-3 forward finished with four points and nine rebounds against Davis.

"He gives us some strength and some energy," Olson said. "He is a guy that will battle for rebounds and is another big body to go along with Jordan (McCloud)."

Wednesday marked the Gators' fourth-straight appearance at the Class 4A tournament.

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