Thomas Jefferson girls basketball makes the playoffs

In mid-January, the Raiders rattled off five wins out of seven games.

Despite a less-than-fruitful season, the Thomas Jefferson Raiders girls basketball team will be in the playoffs.

“TJ’s coming,” said Head Coach Shun “Flip” Austin-Captville.

The Raiders finished the season with a 7-13 record and has a spot in the playoffs during Coach Shun’s first stint as a head coach.

“It shows a reflection of their hard work that they put in through the season. I had nothing to do with it. It was all the girls that did the hard work,” he said.

For the Federal Way High School alum, making the playoffs is something to be proud of, he said. Especially, as a first-year head coach of a team who is coming off a winless season. “It’s about changing the culture, pushing the girls to be better than they have been pushed before.”

On the Raider senior night, the girls took down the Highline Pirates with a convincing 50-22 win. “It means everything, to give these ladies a chance to go out with a bang and just taste the postseason. It is the best thing possible,” Austin-Captville said.

The Raiders jumped out to a huge 22-2 lead in the first quarter. Thomas Jefferson was helped by Alexis McVey and BB Aguiman who combined for 13 points in the first quarter alone.

BB finished the game with 12 points, six steals and a rebound. “He taught me how to be confident,” she said of the head coach.

By halftime, the Raider lead increased to 22, in front of the Pirates 31-9. This team was playing with a ton of confidence, something that Austin-Captville emphasizes. “It’s just me giving them the tools”

The Pirates were able to put up more points in the third quarter, but TJ needed a spark. Priyanka Mungra was that answer, she had her best scoring quarter of the game with seven points in the fourth quarter.

The most remarkable thing about this Raider team is their journey. TJ started the season 1-8, and it seemed like one of those seasons. But from Jan. 13 to Jan. 30, the Raiders rattled off five wins out of seven games in that span.

“It was hard in the first part of the season because we lost almost every game, we were kind of sad emotionally. We didn’t really know what to do, but our big coach changed the whole thing,” Aguiman said.

“During the middle of Christmas break, I asked if this team would let me coach them up, they said yes … That continued to build and grow, it started with changing their mindsets and looking at a different outlook,” Austin-Captville said. “They took it and ran with it.”

All but one of those wins was against a league opponent, those wins turned the season around. “We are not going away quietly,” said Austin-Captville.

The Raiders enter the West Central Districts as the 13th seed. On Feb. 10 they travel to Central Kitsap to take on the No. 12-seeded Cougars.