Puyallup and No. 2-ranked Curtis have a knack for games coming down to the wire this season.
Behind the sharp shooting of Curtis duo Glenn Jordan and Aushanti Potts-Woods, the Vikings of University Place were able to hold off the Vikings of Puyallup, 84-80, at Curtis High in a 4A South Puget Sound League South battle Friday night.
“It’s a great rivalry. It’s always a fun game, as they’re very well coached and we’re very well coached,” Jordan said. “I know it’s always going to be a battle.”
Potts-Woods scored a game-high 28 points and Jordan adding 23 as the duo shot a combined 21 for 29 from the floor, with 7 of 12 from coming from beyond the 3-point arc.
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The last time these two teams met, it was Curtis who outdueled its league rival in a thrilling 68-60 overtime victory a month ago at Puyallup on Dec. 15. With the win, Curtis (16-1) is undefeated in league play at 9-0. Emerald Ridge (8-7, 6-2) follows in the standings with Puyallup (12-3, 5-3) in third place.
“They have a good team,” Curtis coach Tim Kelly said. “It was tough playing the first time we were there as we were down a lot and we came back. I think both teams play into each other’s styles, and it seems like it’s always a high-scoring affair.”
Potts-Woods (11 of 13) was perfect after the first quarter, with his only misses coming from beyond the 3-point arc.
“It’s just practice. (We) make sure we practice on how to execute,” Potts-Woods said. “We just executed tonight … I was just taking smart shots, smart shot selections and just being smart with the ball.”
Several times in the second half, Puyallup had overcome a double-digit deficit, but Curtis’ senior duo were too much to handle.
“We just came out really hot and we knew we had to contribute to win,” Jordan said.
By the end of the third quarter, Curtis had a 10-point lead at 65-55.
“We just have to have 100 percent focus, 100 percent effort and give it all we got,” Puyallup guard Jaden Vollmen said. “(Curtis) is a good team and they’re going to make their runs. We just have to stay focused when they do.”
Jordan, who dished out nine assists, found Nate Ward, who finished with 10 points, on back-to-back possessions to push Curtis’ lead to 72-60.
Then a spark of life ignited both Landen Neff, who finished with 20 points, and his brother Devin, who added 13, as they helped Puyallup cut into Curtis’ lead.
With 3:27 left to play, Landon hit a 3-pointer and followed it with a layup and foul to cut the lead to 75-71.
After Jordan found Sindou Diallo sitting in the corner for an uncontested shot, Devin Neff responded with a pull-up jumper beyond the arc to trim Curtis’ lead to 78-76.
“My teammates were trying to look for me,” Jordan said. “We were all just trying to get each other involved, and that’s just how it went today.”
A score by Puyallup’s Vollmen cut the lead to 81-80 with 20 seconds to play.
“We had a couple of lapses and that hurt us down the stretch,” said Vollmen who scored 18 on the night. “It was us just (having) lack of focus really. Just losing track as (Jordan and Potts-Woods) were running around, getting open and getting looks … they shot really well tonight.”
Potts-Woods then made a clutch jumper and a free throw to close out the victory.
Kevin Manning: @herald_kmanning