Decatur girls basketball one win away from history

Gators sneak into the 4A state tournament as the 13 seed.

The Decatur Gators girls basketball team is back in the state tournament for the first time since 2021. The Gators have still yet to play a game inside the Tacoma Dome since 2000.

23 years ago, the Gators finished fifth, and that was the only time the Gators have ever placed at the girls state tournament.

Decatur took down the Kentridge Chargers for the second time this season Feb. 18 by a score of 48-41.

“The outcome is great. We went into a dog fight and we came out as the top dogs. I love that part,” said Gator Head Coach Elon Langston.

The Gators have now advanced to the opening round of the state tournament and need to win their game against Gonzaga Prep Academy on Feb. 25 at West Valley High School (Spokane) to advance to the Tacoma Dome.

The Gators’ leader and point guard, Jewel Young, had been sidelined in their previous game against Bellarmine with a knee brace. But against Kentridge ,she was in uniform and on the bench.

“We’ve been dealing with injuries all season… We knew injury or not, we had to come out and compete tonight,” Langston said.

At the end of the first quarter, Decatur led, 10-8, and they also led at halftime, 20-19.

The teams were deadlocked at 31-31 at the end of the third quarter. But the mood in the gym shifted when the crowd realized that Young was entering the game.

“When I came in to start the fourth quarter, I was so appreciative to be able to go help my teammates,” Young said. She had just received her knee MRI results that morning.

Over the first six minutes of her play, the Gators jumped out with a 5-0 run and held Kentridge off the scoreboard.

“I was grateful to even step on the court tonight. I’m so grateful for everything God has done for me and my team,” Young said.

She was the difference for Decatur, giving them the energy they needed to take down the Chargers: “Jewels came in and gave us that spark,” Langston said.

Decatur is now one win away from school history, and that is something that has always been on coach Langston’s mind.

“It’s everything. Ever since I got this job, I have had the Dome on my mind… As a coach I want that for my girls more than anything.

Decatur sophomore Dream Mika works on offense. (Photos by Ben Ray / The Mirror)

Decatur sophomore Dream Mika works on offense. (Photos by Ben Ray / The Mirror)