This time, the Curtis High Vikings were prepared for Federal Way’s pressure defense.
And instead of losing their composure and getting beat in transition like they did during a 70-55 humbling Dec. 11 in University Place, the sixth-ranked Vikings put a little extra on each pass and cut to the hoop with conviction on Thursday night.
It all added up to a 68-62 victory in Federal Way over the fifth-ranked Eagles, giving Curtis (15-1, 11-1 SPSL South) the inside track to the SPSL South Division title.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game,” Curtis coach Tim Kelly said.
That determination and focus showed early on, as the Vikings led 19-12 after the first quarter. Curtis extended the lead to 41-29 at the half when Tory Causey blocked DeeShawn Tucker’s shot on defense and then sprinted down the floor to receive a long outlet pass for a lay-in to beat the halftime buzzer.
“We played hard; we handled pressure better,” Kelly said. “It was important to get back and stop (their) transition (game). They didn’t get any transition (baskets) off of misses.”
But even with star forward Brayon Blake struggling and Tucker having fouled out early in the fourth quarter, the Eagles were still in the game late. Adrian Davis hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left to cut the Curtis lead to 57-53, but the Vikings remained strong and weathered the run, converting 6-for-9 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
Senior Dominic Robinson was a thorn in Federal Way’s side all night, breaking the full-court press with relative ease and keeping the offense running smoothly in the face of pressure. The 5-foot-7 guard also didn’t shy away from contact, hitting a couple of nice floaters in the lane at key junctures in the game.