Note: I covered the 4A bi-district boys games at Mount Tahoma Friday night. Here’s my recap, plus links to results of other games.
A week ago, Curtis High’s boys basketball team slogged through a loss to Kentwood High in the SPSL championship contest.
Since then, the Vikings have won two straight games, including a 59-51 upset victory over fifth-ranked Union in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A West Central/Southwest Bi-District tournament Friday night at Mount Tahoma High.
“We’ve played with energy the last two games and we didn’t do that against Kentwood,” he said. “You can’t have those kind of nights or you pack up the uniforms the next day.”
Curtis won’t box up its jerseys any time soon. The win over the Titans secured the Vikings a spot in the regional round of the state tournament.
But first, Curtis (18-6) will meet second-ranked Bellarmine Prep (21-2) in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Auburn High. Union (16-6) will play Central Kitsap (14-8) in a loser-out game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma.
After giving up an 11-point first-quarter lead, Curtis trailed 27-24 at halftime. Once the Vikings figured out how to break Union’s defensive press, Curtis cruised.
The Vikings, buoyed by the return of SPSL South MVP Darius Johnson-Wilson – he sat out 10 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble – ripped off a 13-2 run in the first three minutes of the second quarter, staking a 37-29 lead, and never looked back.
“Having Darius back in the game was huge,” Kelly said. “When he was out we couldn’t handle the press and secondly we didn’t have as much of post presence.”
The Vikings led by at least four points the rest of the way and iced the victory by going 8-for-11 from the free-throw line in the final three minutes.
Johnson-Wilson, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, scored eight of his 10 points after halftime.
Sophomore guard Rodrick Smith led the Vikings with 13 points and Cameron Howell added 12.
Howell, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, was a bigger contributor on defense. He held Union’s BYU-bound guard Jordan Chatman to three points on 1-for-14 shooting
“Cameron did a tremendous job,” Kelly said. “We knew Chatman was going to take shots and we thought that Cameron, with some length, would be tough on him. That’s the best that he’s played on the defensive end.”
Forward Tanner Nelson led the Titans with 21 points.
In the first half, Curtis raced to an 13-2 lead, but Union reeled in the Vikings with their pressing full-court defense. During a seven-minute stretch that spanned the first and second quarters, Curtis committed 11 turnovers, allowing the Titans to pull ahead 18-15.
The Vikings played the entire second quarter without Johnson-Wilson. The senior forward left the game after being called for his second foul with two minutes to go in the first period.
No. 2 Bellarmine Prep 48, Federal Way 45: Lions forward Sefo Liufau missed most of the first half, sitting on the bench with three fouls. Bellarmine Prep missed the all-league junior on the court, as it stared at a five-point halftime deficit.
Liufau’s return in the second half ignited Bellarmine Prep. He scored 13 of his team-high 15 points after halftime, helping the Lions escape with a win.
“It wasn’t pretty, that’s for sure,” Bellarmine Prep coach Bernie Salazar said. “In the playoffs, you just have to find a way to win.”
Federal Way led for most of the game, using speed to keep the Lions off-kilter. It wasn’t until Isaiah Flynn buried a 3-pointer with 1:05 to play that Bellarmine Prep took the lead for good.
Malik Montoya put a scare into the Lions when he hit a 3-pointer that brought the Eagles within one, 46-45, with 12.5 seconds left, but a turnover on an inbounds pass did in Federal Way.
D’Londo Tucker led the Eagles with 18 points.
SEMIFINALS FROM AUBURN HIGH
Mount Rainier 56, Kentwood 52: The Rams beat the Conquerors for the third time this season. Caden Rowland turned in a double-double, totaling 16 points and 20 rebounds for Mount Rainier. Adrian Davis led the Rams with 17 points.
Taylor Jones paced Kentwood with 12 points.
Olympia 53, Evergreen 51: David Carlson and Trevor Houser made late 3-pointers as Olympia rallied to knock off the Plainsmen.
Houser led the Bears with 17 points and Carlson added 12.
Hawaii-bound Caleb Dressler scored 12 points for Evergreen.
Here’s a link to our Scoreboard, which has results from all of Friday’s events.