This felt like merely a formality.
The Federal Way High School boys basketball team has now won more consecutive games than any large school in state history.
The Eagles’ 60th win in a row came with a 69-36 nonleague victory at Ferndale on Wednesday as Federal Way surpassed Ferris’ Class 4A record of 59 consecutive wins it set from 2006-08.
Etan Collins scored a game-high 17 points and Marcus Stephens and Malcom Cola each scored 16. No one for Ferndale scored in double figures.
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Coach Jerome Collins even decided he’d mention Federal Way’s feat, talking about the streak after the game. He said it was the first time he’d mentioned it to the team since the Eagles’ season-opening 4 a.m. practice.
"I was telling our guys tonight that we’ve reached it and accomplished it – and they’ve never heard me really speak of it," Collins said in a phone interview. "I told them that this is something they will be able to tell their children and their grandchildren. It might not be sinking in right now, but it will."
Federal Way tied Morton-White Pass (2B) for the second-longest overall win streak in state history. Brewster (2B) won 82 consecutive games from 1973-77.
The streak started on Jan. 20 of 2015 with a 86-48 win against Beamer following a loss to Bellevue the day prior. Federal Way has since won back-to-back 4A state titles along the way and is currently the No. 1-ranked 4A team in the state.
The Eagles (17-0) lost four of their five starters from last year’s team, but have still outscored their opponents this year by an average of 38 points per game.
Wednesday’s game was a makeup of a weather cancellation. The Eagles tied the 4A state record for consecutive wins on Tuesday night in a 60-56 win against Enumclaw – Federal Way’s closest win of the season.
Collins said that his team simply couldn’t get shots to fall that it normally makes in that narrow win over Enumclaw.
So Wednesday it turned to defense, holding Ferndale (4-8) to a season-low 36 points.
"We were aggressive, we were in the passing lanes, we put pressure on the ball and I felt like we did it clean," Collins said. "Actually, an official came up to me after the game and said that he had never seen a team play so aggressive and so quick and yet so clean."
Collins said this is without question the most special three-year run he’s been part of, and that is what he said makes this streak so gratifying to him. It continues what the now-WSU guard Viont’e Daniels-led Federal Way team did with its 14-game win streak to end the 2014-15 season, then what Jalen McDaniels, Ferron Flavors, D’Jimon Jones and Christian Jones did as the leaders of Federal Way’s 29-0 season last year.
"It’s gratifying," Collins said. "I’m really happy about our character, what we do in the classroom, our work ethic, how we are still pressing and pushing to get everybody to at least a 3.5 GPA and their accomplishments on the court to continue and add to the success we’ve had.”
One of the wins Ferris had in its 59-game streak came in the 2007-08 state title game against Collins’ Federal Way.
Since then, the Eagles have won 4A state titles in 2009 (against Garfield), 2015 (against Davis) and 2016 (against Kentwood).
"Like I always said to the kids – it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s the next game. We want wo in the next game, the next quarter," Collins said. "I thought the emphasis was simple: It will take care of itself.
"Now that we’ve reached that plateau it’s great to see the culmination of the last programs that were a part of this."
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
CLASS 4A WIN STREAKS
Federal Way passed Ferris on Wednesday for most consecutive victories in 4A state history, winning its 60th game in a row in a 69-36 victory over Ferndale.
▪ Federal Way (2015-present) — 60 games
▪ Ferris (2006-08) — 59 games
▪ Richland (1978-80) — 40 games
▪ Lincoln (1975-76) — 38 games
▪ Lincoln of Seattle (1955-58) — 38 games
OVERALL WIN STREAKS
▪ Brewster (2B) (1973-77) — 82 games
▪ Morton-White Pass (2B) (2013-15) — 60 games
▪ Federal Way (4A) (2015-present) — 60 games
▪ Ferris (4A) (2006-08) — 59 games
▪ Reardan (2B) (1964-67) — 57 games
▪ Northwest Christian of Colbert (2B) (2007-09) — 57 games
▪ Grandview (1A) (1988-90) — 53
Source: David Maley, Rosalia