The Federal Way girls trailed 10th-ranked Auburn Riverside for almost the entire first half of their Class 4A West Central District basketball game Tuesday.
However, it must have seemed an uncomfortable lead for the Ravens, as they could almost sense the tick, tick, ticking from Eagles’ leading-scorer Raven Benton, who was getting early points but not quite yet erupting.
In the second half Benton’s explosion came, and her 34-point night carried the Eagles to a 52-44 win on their opponents’ home court.
“She’s capable of that pretty much anytime,” Federal Way coach Joshua DeYoe said. “She’s been our go-to girl all year long, obviously. She defensively holds it down for us in terms of getting where she needs to be. But tonight especially I was very proud of her more for her vocal leadership. She’s always led us by example, but she’s probably never been as vocal as she was tonight.”
Federal Way advances to play Narrows 4A champion Yelm in the district quarterfinals at Rogers High School on Friday.
Benton, who averaged 26.6 points per game during the season, scored 23 in the second half. Her game-changers came in the third quarter, including a pair of 3-point daggers as the Eagles roared from behind to take a lead they would never relinquish.
“I thought Raven had a really great game,” Auburn Riverside coach Tim Nelson said. “We tried diamond and one; we tried man; we tried zone; we tried pressure. But I think mainly it had to do with our offense. We just didn’t have it today, thanks maybe to their defense.”
While none of Benton’s teammates scored more than seven points, several picked their spots for key contributions.
One of those was Jill Honrade, whose 3-pointer ignited a 9-0 run that opened the third quarter and turned the game for the Eagles.