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Basketball: SPSL South boys, girls preview capsules

Post by Doug Pacey / The News Tribune on Dec. 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm with 1 Comment »
December 6, 2011 7:02 pm


1. Curtis (23-6)
2. Federal Way (14-10)
3. Spanaway Lake (7-13)
4. Beamer (6-13)
5. Puyallup (21-9)
6. Emerald Ridge (2-18)
7. Bethel (10-13)
8. Rogers (17-8)
9. Graham-Kapowsin (1-18)
*2010-11 records

F Darius Johnson-Wilson 6-6 Sr. Curtis
Played a key role in Vikings reaching state finals last season

G D’Londo Tucker 5-11 Jr. Federal Way
Lightning-quick guard leads an attack that will push the tempo

F Braxton Tucker 6-4 Jr. Spanaway Lake
Double-double machine will emerge as one of league’s standout players

W Thomas Rhodes 6-3 Sr. Beamer
He’ll have more games with double-doubles than not

G Dom Jordan 5-9 Jr. Curtis
Experienced point guard can distribute ball and score when needed

The SPSL South is wide open this season. Want proof? None of the players selected to last year’s all-league first- or second-team return. Unlike in past seasons when there’s been a clear-cut frontrunner, expect a wild season filled with teams beating up on each other. If pressed to pick a favorite, Curtis makes the most sense. The Vikings reached the state finals last season and return two talented starters – forward Darius Johnson-Wilson (11.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.2 apg) and guard Dominique Jordan (3.1 ppg, 2.4 apg). With Jaurence Chisholm, a 6-8 junior forward, joining Johnson-Wilson in the paint, Curtis should be tough inside. Until they find a go-to player, the Vikings will rely on experience – seven players are back that saw action during Curtis’ run to the state title game. … Federal Way has an extremely young team – its top five players are underclassmen – but that shouldn’t stop the Eagles from developing into a good team. Federal Way lost its first two games, falling to a couple good teams from the Greater St. Helens League, but bounced back with a convincing win over Puyallup last week. … Beamer scored a huge early confidence boost when it clipped Garfield 66-63 last week. Thomas Rhodes, Juwan Flowers and Luscious Brown are all capable of leading the Titans in scoring in a given game. … Despite graduating its top two scorers, Spanaway Lake could emerge as a surprise team and challenge for the league title. Guard Dezmond Dupree-Turner (10 ppg) and forward Braxton Tucker (10.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg) make up one of the SPSL South’s top combos. Guards Myles Springer and Michael Smith will make impacts. … Puyallup led the state in scoring last year, averaging 74.3 points per game. With the graduation of all five starters and four other seniors, guard Mason Fletcher is the team’s leading returning scorer with an average of 1.0 points per game. Puyallup will keep its run-and-gun style, installing newcomers Clint Absher, Isak Visser, Nick Gutierrez and Fletcher in starting roles. … Bethel will be balanced offensively, getting contributions from Dom Lewis, Jordan Iverson, Zak Richardson, John Thompson, Corey Haywood and Joe Johnson. … Not only did Rogers graduate its top two leading scorers, the Rams also lost Keylin Huddleston, who will miss his senior season due to an injury. Derrick Jones and Tanner Shula are the team’s top returners and senior Chad Bakken is expected to contribute, too. … Pat Mullen, who guided Bethel to a state title in 2005, takes over at Emerald Ridge. The Jaguars have a solid core of three returning starters to build around in forward Paul Allen (10 ppg, 4 rpg), center Jeremy Harris (5 ppg, 5 rpg) and guard Adam Kirk (9 ppg, 4 apg). Mullen said the Jaguars will be balanced offensively, but must work on their defense to move into the top echelon of the league. … Graham-Kapowsin’s offense will run through Kaden Krumpos, with Spencer Stimson, Dane Field and Zachary Ortega chipping in.


1. Federal Way (24-3)
2. Emerald Ridge (19-5)
3. Spanaway Lake (11-10)
4. Beamer (13-10)
5. Bethel (12-13)
6. Rogers (15-9)
7. Puyallup (4-15)
8. Curtis (4-16)
9. Graham-Kapowsin (1-18)
*2010-11 records

G Taylor Buie 5-5 Sr. Emerald Ridge
First-team all-league selection leads a talented, experienced squad

G Darah Huertas-Vining 5-2 Sr. Federal Way
She may be small, but she plays big, averaging 15 points, 5 assists per game

W Raven Benton 5-7 Jr. Federal Way
Fantastic athlete can create her own shot, averaged 12 points per game

G/W Nneka Nnadi 5-9 Jr. Spanaway Lake
Led the Sentinels in scoring last season, averaging 16 points per game

G LeAnne Willingham 5-4 Sr. Spanaway Lake
Second-team all-league pick can score (13 ppg) and play defense (5 steals per game)

Federal Way reached the state finals last season and the Eagles again are the team to beat in the SPSL South, despite losing MVP Talia Walton to the University of Washington. With three returning first-team all-league players – guards Darah Huertas-Vining, Raven Benton and wing Dyesha Belhumeor – Federal Way is loaded for another deep playoff run. … Point guard Taylor Buie is entirely capable of leading the SPSL South in scoring. In her first two games this season, Buie totaled 25 and 23 points. She’s surrounded by a solid supporting cast, including shooting guards Ashley Johnson and Stephanie Riley, who were honorable mention all-league picks. Forwards Alex McCoy, Maddie Johnson, Missy Cook, Megan Healy and guard Karina Matias also have varsity experience. Jadea Brundidge, an honorable mention all-league pick, transferred to Franklin for her senior season. … It wasn’t until late last season that Spanaway Lake’s players began to believe in themselves, coach Rob Morrison said. He expects that to carryover this year and the results could push the Sentinels deep into the playoffs. Guards LeAnne Willingham (51.0 shooting percentage), Nneka Nnadi (16 ppg) and Chelsea Padgett (7 ppg) are the team’s top returners. … Guard Jordan Asher, post Kalani Ulufule and forward Mackenzie Lancaster are back for Rogers. The Rams will be balanced offensively with those three, along with Aimee Bach and Leigha Stroh. … Beamer is buoyed by Meghan Graf, a second-team all-league pick last season, but the Titans will get contributions from many others. … Wings Karina Farr (8 ppg, 6 rpg) and Sweets Battle (8 ppg, 3 apg) are Bethel’s returning starters, though the Braves have plenty of depth. Cherish Akana, Kasie Lough and Makayla Stephens have varsity experience and a trio of sophomores – Brandi Johnson, Katreeana Mack and Cassidy Kalapus – will make an impact. … Alexa Goodenow and McKenzie Blackner are Curtis’ returning starters. The Vikings will rely on their speed and defense to win games. … Graham-Kapowsin’s Kylee Geffre, an honorable mention all-league pick, returns for the Eagles, who are looking to improve.

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. Tucker is 6’6.

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