Federal Way Eagles boys basketball team held their ground in New York City at the Battle in the Apple showcase last weekend.
The Eagles defeated New York-based Lawrence Woodmere 91-49 at the Barclays Center on Sunday evening.
“We played well on a big stage where basketball is the lifeblood of the city,” said FWHS boys basketball head coach Yattah Reed.
Junior Tari Eason was named MVP of the showcase and put up 24 points with 10 rebounds, four assists and six steals. Five-star recruit senior Jaden McDaniels put up his own 19 points with six rebounds and six assists. Senior Jishai Miller collected 21 points and seven rebounds while junior Bradley Graham made 20 points and three steals.
“It was a great experience going back to New York where I was born, going back there, spending time with family and putting on for the Fed,” junior Tari Eason said.
While it’s exciting to travel and be among high-level athletes, you have to stay focused on playing hard, Eason said.
“[We learned] how to maintain our excellence,” he said. “That game they really tried to challenge us and we came right back.”
On the court, every player on the opposing team is an enemy, he said.
“No friends, kill everyone,” he said about his game play philosophy. “There’s no friends, you have to have that killer mentality.”
Battle in the Apple showcase hosted the best in the nation including a public school versus private school standoff between New York’s South Shore High School and Christ the King Regional High School; a battle of East Coast versus West Coast with the Federal Way Eagles taking on New York’s Lawrence Woodmere Academy; and a final Battle of the Preps game between New Hampshire’s Brewster Academy and Connecticut’s St. Thomas Academy.
The weekend’s lineup was studded with five-star recruits, also providing an opportunity for players to gain national exposure and perform in front of college coaches and NBA scouts, Reed said.
“Without the usual crowd of family and peers at home to watch them play, they weathered the challenge of not being the hometown favorite,” Reed said. “As a coach, I would like to commend our scholar-athletes for the class and good sportsmanship they demonstrated …”
The opportunity of playing on one of the nation’s largest stages will benefit them this season and beyond, he said.
“They learned to be more unified in their play,” he said. “They learned that basketball is bigger than what they are accustomed to seeing here in Washington state [and] they learned that there are various opportunities with the game of basketball separate from being a professional basketball player.”
Back on home court, the Eagles beat Decatur 91 to 44 on Tuesday night.