Federal Way Eagles win boys basketball league title

The Eagles remain undefeated in league play

The Federal Way Eagles boys basketball secured the team’s sixth league championship since 2015 with a Monday night win over the Tahoma Bears by a score of 66-54.

The Eagles are still undefeated in North Puget Sound League and are the only one-loss team in the league. The win over Tahoma moved the Eagles up to the No. 1 spot in the statewide 4A RPI poll.

“I’m really proud of us …We overcame some difficulties and stuck with each other,” said senior Colton West on Jan. 30.

Tahoma entered the contest as the final regular season test for the Eagles. Both teams were undefeated in league play and it seemed the two were destined for one of the best games of the year.

Federal Way couldn’t have had a better start, jumping out to an early nine-point lead. The Eagles lead the Bears 11-2 early in the first quarter. Tahoma was able to tack on a couple more baskets before the quarter ended, and Federal Way was leading 20-9 after the first.

In the second quarter, Federal Way struggled, turnovers and fouls allowed Tahoma to creep their way closer to the Eagles. The Bears cut the lead to single digits a couple of times, but never threatened the Eagles.

Senior Dace Pleasant was the saving grace for the Eagles, who scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half.

“I think we played together, nobody was arguing with each other. We played as a team and were trying to help each other out … We kept our heads and just kept playing,” senior Tylin Jackson said.

By the end of the first half, Federal Way regained the double-digit lead and went into halftime up 36-24.

The third quarter was a testament to the depth of the roster the Eagles have this season. For a serious amount of time, the only starter on the floor was Vaughn Weems. The other four had come off the bench.

“It’s huge. It gives them some experience,” Federal Way Head Coach Yattah Reed said. “The other piece is that it lets our starters rest their legs for late in the game.”

Federal Way was on top after the third quarter with an even larger lead 55-41 over the Bears. Colton West finished the game with nine points and four steals. His mentality is one reason why he is a weapon on the court.

“I don’t want them to have the ball. I don’t want them to feel comfortable when they have the ball,” West said of the opposing players.

Offensively, each shot West makes seems to propel the Eagles with a ton of momentum. “It feels great because the team has a lot of trust in me. So when I knock it down, it’s like: Let’s go,” he said.

During the final quarter of play, the Bears once again cut the lead to 10 points early in the fourth, but never threatened Federal Way’s lead.

The Eagles take pride in their own statistic they call deflections; it gives credit to Eagles players who disrupt their opponent even if they don’t come up with a steal.

The active defense from Weems, West, and Isaiah Afework helped keep the lead at double digits for the Eagles.

“They all play defense, and they all get deflections. It’s a huge piece to our success,” Reed said.

Federal Way has now only lost to Tahoma once since 2004, which came last season at a neutral site. But for coach Reed, there wasn’t any extra on the line just because the Bears beat them last year.

“Sometimes you don’t get another opportunity to play the team that beat you. It’s good that we came out on top tonight,” Reed said.

Federal Way takes on Mount Rainier on Thursday, Feb. 2 for senior night. The Eagles will be honoring eight players who will be moving on after this season.