The Federal Way Eagles boys basketball team advanced to the semifinals with a win over the Skyline Spartans, 69-53, on March 2. The win avenges the Eagle football team’s loss to Skyline in the first round of the 4A football state tournament last November.
“It’s a great experience being here. Since day one, we worked very hard to get here… We had to come out here and be aggressive and we did that,” senior Dane Lewis said.
It is the first time, the Eagles have reached the semifinal round of the state tournament since 2019. In the 2019 state tournament, they lost to Mt. Si, but went on to take third place, beating the Curtis Vikings, 95-67.
The win over Skyline was a complete win for the Eagles — and they caused major problems for the Spartans.
Over the course of the four quarters, the Eagles never trailed. Offensively and defensively, they were clicking and running on all cylinders. In the middle two quarters, the Eagles scored 43 points.
In the first half, it was the Dace, Dane and Weems show. Dace Pleasant led the scoring with 10 points, shooting 100% from beyond the arc. Lewis shot 100% from the floor in the first half, and he had seven points and two assists.
“I just wanted to dominate my position, look for my teammates, make sure they can get theirs and I get mine as well and just help the team to get the win,” Lewis said.
Vaughn Weems had a complete half, scoring eight, snagging five rebounds and dishing three assists.
The second half was all Eagles, leading the Spartans by 22 points going into the fourth quarter, 53-31.
It was a convincing win, but the Eagles still had things to work on. While the Eagles were up by 20, Pleasant made a cross-court pass that got intercepted, and Skyline converted on the turnover. Even though the Eagles were up big, there was a message Reed conveyed to his players.
“It’s very important to stay detail oriented because it’s all about possessions. If you were to throw that pass while we’re up 20, you’d do it while we’re up two … It’s about reiterating the need to value the ball,” Reed said.
The Eagles played a lot of stress-free basketball in an environment where surroundings are unfamiliar. The Eagles shot the ball extremely well, ending the game with a 52.3% shooting percentage. They went 10-21 from the three-point arch.
“We can be pretty dangerous. Part of the reason we are shooting that well is we pass up a good one for a great one,” Reed said.
Pleasant finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, leading the team. Weems had 14 total and Lewis finished with 12 total.
“Dane has been accepting his role and he’s now a star in it. He picked the right time to score and knew when to get the ball to whoever needed it, and controlled the pace of the game,” Reed said about his point guard.
This year the Eagles have a date with the same team they beat for third place back in 2019. They take on the Vikings from Curtis, who are also the defending 4A state champions, on March 3 with tip-off at 3:45 p.m.
“We’re ready. We got to come out and play hard as a team. It’s all about the team,” Lewis said.