For those around the state who haven’t already, it’s time to take notice of the Spanaway Lake boys basketball team.
The Sentinels routed Evergreen of Vancouver, 97-53, at home on Saturday to win their own Christmas tournament championship and remain unbeaten.
It was the seventh time this season Spanaway Lake (9-0) has scored at least 84 points, and the second time it has scored over 90.
“Every game we try to play with a chip on our shoulder,” Spanaway Lake coach Dominic Batten said. “Obviously, I think we have a great team. A lot of people probably don’t see us (and) we don’t get much publicity on our end, but I see these guys every day. I see the work ethic that goes in and the way we compete in our practices.
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“So yeah, we kind of feel every game is kind of a statement game.”
The Sentinels made an emphatic statement in the first quarter, outscoring Evergreen 31-14 to make the Plainsmen really miss alum Robert Franks, who now starts at Washington State University.
Senior guard Jordan Garner had 14 points in the period, including four 3-pointers, to help his team take control of the game early.
“Evergreen, I think they are a good team and they are very athletic,” Batten said. “They play with a lot of energy, so it was a great contest for our team to see if we can match their energy and their intensity.”
The Sentinels did more than match it, they surpassed it and dictated the pace of the game. An 8-0 run to open the second quarter put them up 39-14 and that lead continued to grow throughout the majority of the game.
Garner’s ability to knock down 3-pointers, matched with senior point guard Divante Moffitt’s ability to get to the rim, proved to be way too much for the Plainsmen to overcome.
“Divante Moffitt is a very dynamic scorer, Jordan Garner is a very dynamic scorer, Isiaiah Turner, who is actually leading us in points this season, is a very dynamic scorer, and with Ja’Ontay Foster and Derek Gordon — we almost have five guys in double figures,” Batten said. “Divante Moffitt sets the tone for our team, obviously the point guard should, but we just make basketball plays. We know every game is going to be different, and we know every guy will have an opportunity to go.”
Moffitt finished with a game-high 24 points, Garner added 21 and Foster finished with 12.
Turner through the first nine games leads Spanaway Lake in scoring at 21.9 points per game, with Garner averaging 19.1 points and Moffitt at 18.4 points. They are the three-headed monster that led Spanaway Lake to its first state tournament appearance since the 1984-85 season last year, losing to Seattle Prep in the regional round.
The ninth-ranked Sentinels next opponent is No. 3-ranked Lincoln, which is 10-0 this season after a win on Saturday over Florida-based St. Petersburg in the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic.
Spanaway Lake and Lincoln meet on Wednesady at Spanaway Lake High School, and the winner figures to have the inside track for the 3A Pierce County League title.
“A lot of our guys, they know a lot of guys on the Lincoln team,” Batten said. “It’s definitely going to be a competitive game. Obviously, we know Lincoln has a great program. I respect their coach over there and we know the players. We have the same goal as, I think, they do – we want to win the league.
“That’s going to be a game where we play them, both undefeated, and it’s going to be a big game to decide who wins the league.”
Evergreen of Vancouver
Evergreen – Zyell Griffin 5, Jerontae Burns 8, Michael Cabrera 8, Dwight Jones 8, Mawuto Akoto 0, Jeremy Harju 4, Brock Schoene 0, X’Zayvier Washington 7, Tyler Wendt 3, Chris Huerta 3, Carter Monda 5, Nathan Lomas 2, Daud Kahn 0.
Spanaway Lake – Derek Gordon 4, Divante Moffitt 24, Isaiah Turner 7, Marius Bradwell 4, Josiah Millen 4, Ja’Ontay Foster 12, Quincy Wilson 10, Jordan Garner 21, Lakyi Ellison 3, Terrell Williams 4, Noah Felagai 4.