This year’s Ferris team and 1996 Sehome squad are regarded as state’s best ever

Federal Way-Decatur semifinal was first all-city matchup since 1992

By CASEY OLSON, The Mirror

Federal Way School District boys basketball teams don’t have much luck when it comes to their opponents in the Class 4A state championship games.

Federal Way High School’s loss to Ferris Saturday night in the title game was the second time a district boys team has played in the championship. Decatur lost to Sehome in its only appearance back in 1996.

This year’s Ferris team and the ‘96 Sehome squad are almost universally regarded as the top-two teams in state history.

Ferris became the first 4A team to go undefeated in back-to-back seasons. The 68-44 win was Ferris’ 58th straight victory, having gone 29-0 in consecutive years. Only Brewster, which won 82 games consecutive games in Class B between 1973 and 1977, has had a longer winning streak in state history.

Sehome finished the 1996 season with a perfect 30-0 record and beat a very, very good Decatur team by 39 points in the title game.

• Ferris forward Jared Karstetter was voted the Class 4A tournament Most Valuable Player.

Also on the tournament first team were Ferris’ DeAngelo Castro, Federal Way’s Aaron Broussard and Bellarmine Prep’s Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley. Decatur’s Marcus Tibbs and Michael Hale were named to the all-tournament second team.

• Saturday’s Ferris-Federal Way state championship game was broadcast on Fox Sports Northwest with Brian Davis and Bill Krueger on the call.

• Federal Way head coach Jerome Collins has coached the Eagles in nine state tournaments during his 24-year tenure at Federal Way. But Saturday was the first time he coached in a state championship game.

• Friday night’s Federal Way-Decatur state semifinal inside the Tacoma Dome was an all-timer.

It was the first time in 16 years that two teams from the same city met in the Class 4A semis with a berth to the state title game on the line. A fact that is kind of unbelievable, especially considering the amount of solid basketball programs in the state’s “big” cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane.

The last time it happened was 1992 when Kentridge beat Kent-Meridian at the Seattle Center Coliseum. The Chargers went on to win the 1992 state title with a victory over Kamiakin in the championship.

But it was really no surprise that it was two teams from the South Puget Sound League North Division. This year, four of the eight teams in the division were ranked in the state’s top 10 for most of the season — Federal Way, Decatur, Kentridge and Kentwood.

It was also the first time in 13 years that two teams from the same league have met in the 4A semifinals. The last two league rivals to meet were Sammamish and Lake Washington (Kirkland). The two KingCo League teams met in 1995, with Sammamish winning.

• Decatur senior guard Marcus Tibbs, a two-time All-SPSL North selection, is undecided on where he will play college basketball.

Tibbs, who has averaged 17 points the past two seasons, is considering Eastern Washington University and several junior college programs.

• The Federal Way and Decatur student sections were easily the best fans of the tournament. There’s not even a question. They were the biggest and most vocal of all 32 teams in the boys and girls tournaments.

Several Federal Way kids were painted in blue and white from head to toe and had multiple choreographed cheers and dances. They even featured a silly-string shower following their semifinal win over Decatur.

The Decatur fans were decked out in their normal orange garb, with wigs, sunglasses and beads.

Both teams’ fans made for a great run at the state tournament.

• Federal Way’s 6-foot-6 sophomore Cole Dickerson was the third member of his family to play at the state tournament for the Eagles. His half-brother, Michael, led the Eagles to a third-place finish in 1994 and a sixth-place finish in ‘93 and was on the 1997 NCAA champion Arizona team, as well as a first-round draft choice of Houston in 1998. His last NBA appearance was in the 2002-03 season with Memphis.

His half-sister, Vanika, was a member of Federal Way’s state championship in 1997.

Cole’s sister, Salena, was an all-state player for Federal Way, but never made it to the state tournament. Salena is currently playing at Washington State.

• The weirdest thing I saw in Tacoma last weekend was the halftime performance from the Ferris dance team Saturday night. The 20-plus member team rolled onto the Tacoma Dome floor decked out in red silk sacks from head to toe. The team then performed its “Silly Sack Routine” without ever showing their faces.

The Ferris dance team has been performing the “Silly Sack Routine” for years and have been profiled in Sports Illustrated.

• Federal Way did beat Ferris in one aspect of Saturday’s state championship game. Three Eagle fans beat three fans from Ferris during a halftime free-throw shooting contest. The Federal Way kids made four free throws in 30 seconds, while the Ferris kids only made three.

• A bittersweet story from the girls’ side of the Tacoma Dome came from Pasco guard Kelsey Ramsey. The senior and Bulldogs’ leading scorer missed the entire state tournament after tearing the ACL and MCL in her right knee celebrating the winning shot at the district playoffs in Eastern Washington.

Ramsey said she turned and jumped twice after hitting the winning shot to beat Moses Lake and was about to jump into a teammate’s arms when her right knee gave out.

Pasco lost in the semifinals Friday to Moses Lake and finished sixth at the state tournament.

• Saturday’s paid attendance was 4,732. Four-day attendance was announced as 30,092, up 1,356 (4.7 percent) from last year, when poor weather caused problems for Eastern Washington teams crossing the Cascades. It’s also slightly higher than 2006’s 29,347.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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