Intent on changing his team’s fortunes this time around, Curtis High boys basketball coach Tim Kelly constantly reminds his team of the last time the program was flying high with 19 victories.
That was three years ago, and things didn’t end well. The Vikings lost in the West Central District tournament and never even made it to the Tacoma Dome.
Kelly wants this season to be different.
“We lost four games (to close the season) and we were done,” Kelly said of the season three years ago. “It’s a constant reminder (now) … they hear it all the time.”
His team proved it was getting the message Thursday night in a 74-53 victory over Tahoma in the SPSL tournament championship game at the Showare Center in Kent.
Curtis (19-2) heads to the West Central District tournament as the No. 1 seed, while Tahoma (15-6) goes as No. 2.
Senior Dom Robinson put on a shooting clinic with 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range on his way to a game-high 28 points.
“I missed the first one, I think,” Robinson said with a laugh. “(The) second one I was just feeling it. From there it was lights out.”
Isom Brown and Jaurence Chisholm added eight points apiece as Curtis shot 49 percent from the field. The Vikings also forced 21 turnovers and held Tahoma to 3-of-12 shooting from 3-point range.
“Defensively, we thought we could get into them and pressure them and try to wear them down a little bit,” Kelly said. “I think that kind of showed. You could see them down on their knees a little bit.”
Curtis led by as many as 23 points and outscored the Bears 22-9 in the second quarter on the way to a 39-21 halftime lead.
“(Kelly) always talks about the last time we were 19-1,” Robinson said. “It makes us pumped up … makes us play harder for him. I don’t think anyone will ever forget that.”
Tahoma got 16 points from Coleman Wooten. The Bears shot 32 percent from the field in the first half in digging themselves into a deep hole.
Federal Way 56, Auburn 51 (OT): Junior forward Brayon Blake scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Eagles clinched the No. 3 seed with an overtime victory. D’Londo Tucker added 11 points for Federal Way (18-3), which outscored the Trojans 10-5 in the overtime period. JJ Ruffin scored 22 points for Auburn (13-8), including 12-of-13 shooting from the free-throw line. The Trojans head to district as the fourth seed.