The final buzzer rang and the greater Tacoma all-star team rode off with the 130-120 victory against the greater Seattle team in the Puget Sound Throwdown on Saturday at Highline College.
But what now for three of the South Sound’s best 4A players?
Federal Way’s Malcolm Cola, the 4A NPSL Olympic MVP; Kentwood’s Darius Lubom, the 4A NPSL Cascade MVP; and Curtis’ John Moore, 4A SPSL MVP are all seniors still considering or waiting on college options.
Cola, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward had 21 points and 12 rebounds in the all-star game and won the dunk contest over Rainier Beach’s Kevin Porter Jr. — a junior who already has offers from Gonzaga, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, UW and WSU, according to Scout.com
Cola said he visted Concordia University and Simon Fraser, and is scheduled to visit Central Washington and Western Oregon.
"Hopefully by the end of April, I will be signed," he said.
A knee injury hampered Cola most of his junior year and cost him his summer offseason of AAU basketball, he said — robbing him of his chance to showcase himself to college scouts.
But he came ready his senior season. Cola averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds for Federal Way, and was a big part of why the Eagles ran their win streak to a 4A state record 63 games over three years.
“Playing the way I did during the season really helped me because colleges were watching me consistently,” he said. “After my junior year nobody knew exactly who I was because how little I played. I feel like that’s unreasonable because I played well my sophomore year (at Mount Rainier). So I just really had to show that I am even better than I was then.”
LuBom is a two-time league MVP and helped lead Kentwood to the 4A state title.
But he, too, said he is still fielding offers. The senior left-handed guard averaged 15 points and four rebounds during the season and said he recently visited Western Washington University.
"I’m going on some visits and seeing how everyone’s campus is and see what they are talking about,” he said. “But as of right now I don’t have a decision.”
Moore is in the toughest position of all three players.
The 6-foot-3 athletic senior forward led the Vikings to a fourth-place finish in the 4A state tournament, with their only loss coming by three points against Kentwood.
He averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
"Right now, I don’t know what I am going to do but I will be playing basketball again next year," he said. "No offers or visits, not as of right now though."
Moore and LuBom had 10 points each in Saturday’s all-star game.
Life Christian’s Luke Lovelady, who signed his letter of intent with Point Loma Nazarene, scored a game-high 32 points with seven rebounds — coached by his father, Mark Lovelady — and Timberline’s Erik Stevenson, a junior, had 28 points and nine rebounds with five assists.
Porter and Cleveland’s CJ Elleby each had 18 points for the Seattle team.
LINCOLN’S EYES CENTRAL ARIZONA
The all-stars of the greater Tacoma area scored first off of a layup from Wilson’s Josie Matz and never looked back against the best players from the Seattle area.
Winning the game 86-80, Tacoma was led by Lincoln’s Morticia McCall and Todd Beamer’s Japhera McEachin, who led Tacoma in scoring with 19 points.
"I feel like it was our team bond out on the court, my teammates did a good job of finding me," McEachin said. "They set me up, giving me easy layups."
As a senior, McEachin has played her last minutes for the Titans, but that will not stop her from pursuing basketball outside of high school.
"I’m going to play spring ball to try and get a few more options," she said. McEachin has offers from Evergreen and a few historically black colleges, she said, but will take some more time to make a decision.
However, McCall, former Lincoln forward, has her future figured out.
"I’m pretty sure I know where I’m going: Central Arizona," she said. "It’s a good fit because of the offense is set up, [coach Denise Cardenas] has three rings and I hear really good things about them."
McCall recorded the game’s only double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. She was a first-team 3A Pierce County League selection during the season and led Lincoln to the 3A state semifinals.
Staff writer TJ Cotterill contributed to this report