Down goes Federal Way. The top-ranked Eagles lost their first game of the season, falling 62-58 to Jefferson of Portland, Ore. Here’s my game story and recaps of the other games Monday in the King Holiday Hoopfest.
Count Federal Way boys basketball coach Jerome Collins among those who see no long-term benefits in losing a close game in the regular season.
“Some coaches think a loss is good for you,” he said. “I’d rather win close and learn from that.”
After falling 62-58 to Oregon powerhouse Jefferson in the King Holiday Hoopfest on Monday at the University of Washington, the previously undefeated Eagles were left to figure out what went wrong.
“We played hard at the end,” point guard Isiah Umipig said. “That’s about the only good thing.”
By the Eagles’ own admission, they didn’t put forth their best effort. They turned the ball over too much, were out-rebounded and shot poorly, making just 38 percent of their attempts. Forward Cole Dickerson, a double-double machine this season, was weakened by a week-long bout with a stomach bug.
Despite all that, No. 1 Federal Way (12-1) still found a way to threaten the Democrats, Oregon’s reigning Class 5A state champions. The Eagles, ranked No. 5 in the West Region by ESPN Rise, trimmed a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to four, 56-52, with two minutes to play. They could have made it a one-possession game after a Jefferson miss, but a turnover in the backcourt led to a three-point play from Stephen Madison and Federal Way didn’t come any closer.
“We turned the ball over,” Collins said. “We had our opportunities.”
Dickerson led the Eagles with 18 points, going 7 for 18 from the field, and had nine rebounds. Umipig finished with 15 points and Robert Christopher scored 12.
Federal Way had aspirations to complete an undefeated season. Those goals have now been amended.
“We don’t want to lose to anyone in the state,” Umipig said. “Last year we went 28-2 and still won (the state championship). We’ll take the ring any day.”
Jefferson guard Terrence Jones, a 6-foot-9 senior, terrorized the Eagles, looking every bit the elite college prospect. He scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked eight shots and had four steals. Jones has scholarship offers from Kentucky, Oregon, UCLA and Washington, among others.
“He’s long and active,” Umipig said. “It’s hard to contain a guy like that.”
Jones helped the Democrats surge to a fast start – Federal Way never led and the game’s only tie score was 2-2 – and a 32-22 halftime lead.
Madison chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds for the Democrats (10-3), who were ranked No. 19 in the West Region and No. 1 in Oregon.
South Sound high school hoops fans haven’t seen the last of Jefferson. The Democrats play at Kentwood on Feb. 2 in a game that will be televised live on ESPN2.
Federal Way, meanwhile, faces Kentridge, the SPSL North’s second-place team, on Friday. Collins expects the Eagles to be ready.
“I don’t have any doubt in my mind,” he said, “these kids won’t bounce back.”
Here’s what happened in the earlier games:
Rainier Beach 58, Decatur 53: Decatur had turned the ball over 28 times against Rainier Beach, but with a minute left to play the Gators found themselves locked in a tie game with the Vikings.
While Decatur was coughing up turnovers, Rainier Beach was giving an equally poor performance at the free throw line. Yet, despite making only 8-of-20 free throws in the fourth quarter, the Vikings held on for a 58-53 victory Monday in the King Holiday Hoopfest at the University of Washington.
“We had a hard time with the pressure they brought,” Decatur coach Kevin Olsen said. “We panicked quite a bit in those first six minutes.”
Rainier Beach (10-3) employed a suffocating man-to-man defense that forced 11 first-quarter turnovers and helped the Vikings claim a 19-10 lead.
Decatur trailed by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, but slowly clawed back
“Defensively, I thought we played pretty well,” Olsen said. “We kept fighting, stayed strong and didn’t give up.”
Forward Jordan McCloud led the Gators with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Anthony Williams tallied 10 points and eight rebounds and Jerron Smith added 14 points. Decatur (10-4) committed 29 turnovers.
The Vikings, who never trailed, went 15-for-30 at the line. Lonnie Pearson finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Jeff Perkins totaled 13 points, 13 rebounds and five steals for Rainier Beach.
Since losing three straight games in December to out-of-state opponents, Rainier Beach has been on a roll, winning four consecutive contests, including three by more than 30 points.
1A No. 1 Vashon 55, 1A No. 9 King’s 53: Elias Weston made a pair of free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining to break a tie and lift the Pirates to the victory over the Knights in a rematch of last season’s state title game.
“King’s is a great club and they shot the ball at a high level,” Vashon coach Andy Sears said. “We don’t get tested like this every night in our league.”
Gage, a 6-foot-9 forward who will play at Stanford, powered Vashon (12-1) with 31 points, making 13-of-15 field goals, and grabbed 14 rebounds. Guard Alex Wegner, a 6-foot-7 junior, added 10 points.
King’s (8-4) tied the score at 53-53 when Daniel Cheledinas made three free throws after being fouled attempting a 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left. Cheledinas led the Knights with 25 points.
Skyline 48, Garfield 40 OT: Kasen Williams came off the bench to score 16 points and grab 12 rebounds for the Spartans.
Daeshon Hall had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Both teams shot poorly from the perimeter, going a combined 1-for-23 from beyond the arc.
4A No. 8 Kentwood 54, 3A No. 5 White River 42: Point guard Kyle Huerta totaled a season-high 27 points as the Conquerors ended the Hornets’ six-game winning streak.
Kentwood (11-3) raced to an 11-5 lead at the end of the first quarter and held a healthy advantage the rest of the way.
Forward Courtney Johnson turned in a double-double for Kentwood, tallying 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“We had a tough league loss on Saturday and hopefully this will put us back on track,” Kentwood coach Dean Montzingo said.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Conks – they host No. 1 Auburn Riverside at 7:30 tonight.
Post Megan McKune led White River (10-2) with 16 points and Sabra Sproul had 11.