What goes up must come down.
Only the Federal Way High School boys basketball team doesn’t appear to be coming down anytime soon.
But Jalen McDaniels sure did. The 6-foot-10 San Diego State signee might have had just a hint of aggression when he thunderously jammed a rim-shaking dunk in the fourth quarter of the top-ranked Eagles’ 78-41 victory against visiting Yelm in the first round of the 4A West Central District tournament on Wednesday.
“It was an energy booster,” said McDaniels, who finished with 12 points despite being triple-teamed at times. “I felt like I was down on myself, and that got me into the game. I was out of it, so I felt like I let out my aggression and anger.”
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His younger brother, Jaden McDaniels — a freshman who is a near-spitting image of his brother, a senior — said it still only made the top three of Jalen’s best dunks this year.
Ferron Flavors scored a game-high 19 points, including five 3-pointers, for Federal Way (22-0), which came in ranked No. 23 in the nation by USA Today. The Eagles advance to a winner-to-state game against Timberline at 6 p.m. Friday at Auburn Mountainview.
But it wasn’t all Federal Way.
At least not for the entire game.
Yelm cut its deficit to 18-16 on Christian Davis’ basket early in the second quarter. But Federal Way ended the half on a 14-5 run and outscored the Tornados 29-10 in the third quarter.
Davis, who entered the game averaging 28.6 points, had missed the past three games with an ankle injury. He was held to five points, with credit due to D’Jimon Jones’ defense. Federal Way coach Jerome Collins told Jones to face-guard Davis — much like he might as a cornerback for the Washington State University football team after this year.
But Davis also said he didn’t feel 100 percent.
“It sucked because I just wanted to win this game for everybody,” Davis said. “It wasn’t the same not playing and coming back. I just got to get back to practice.”
Yelm heads to an elimination game against Thomas Jefferson at 6 p.m. Friday at Stadium.
And for Federal Way? Flavors said he still believes there’s room for the Eagles to improve.
“I feel like we haven’t reached our peak yet,” Flavors said. “But we’ll get there.”
Timberline 50, at Thomas Jefferson 45: Trailing by as many as 11 points in the first half, the Blazers exploded in the third quarter with a 19-5 scoring advantage and led by as many as 13 points.
“What our plan early on was we were just trying to keep our head above water, so to speak, in a hostile environment,” Timberline coach Allen Thomas said. “Once we started locking in defensively, we started attacking the rim and got a couple of their key guys in foul trouble.”
Erik Stevenson, Timberline’s 6-foot-3 guard, scored 14 points and gave Jefferson fits with his penetration and playmaking.
At Olympia 70, Todd Beamer 50: The Bears outscored the Titans by 17 points in the third quarter as they roared late for the victory and a trip to a winner-to-state game against Kentwood at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Auburn Mountainview.
Liam Murphy scored 17 points for Olympia, and David Woodward added 14. The Bears can make their third state tournament appearance since 1999 with a win Friday.
Beamer led 31-26 at halftime. Gio Jackson scored a game-high 18 points, and Abraham Murray added 11. The Titans will play Emerald Ridge in an elimination game at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Stadium.
At Kentwood 58, Emerald Ridge 41: Darius LuBom had 20 points and rallied the Conquerors, who trailed after the first quarter.
Kentwood (18-4) was losing 12-11 after the first, then outscored the Jaguars 21-11 in the second and never looked back.
Jason Cassens led Emerald Ridge with 10 points.
At No. 6 Bellarmine Prep 75, Spanaway Lake 65: Malachi Flynn scored 29 points, lifting the Lions, who led by 18 points at halftime.
Bellarmine (18-3) also got 16 points from Joey Bodoia and 14 from Christian Moore. The Lions advance to face Kentridge at 6 p.m. Friday at Mt. Tahoma.
Spanaway Lake got 16 points from Divante Moffitt and will head to an elimination game against Kent-Meridian at 6 p.m. Friday at Auburn.
At Kentridge 69, Kent-Meridian 64 (OT): The Royals rallied from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime, but the Chargers pulled away behind Joran Ticeson’s 19 points and Ethan Walker’s 15 to advance to the second round.
Mahlik Hall scored 23 points, and Romaine Jackson added 18 as Kent-Meridian lost its last two of three meetings against rival Kentridge this season.
At Puyallup 59, South Kitsap 55: Tony Gutierrez scored a game-high 23 points, and the Vikings held off a late charge.
Puyallup advances to face 4A SPSL South rival Curtis for the third time this season in a winner-to-state game at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Mt. Tahoma.
Daniel Tomkiewicz had 22 points and Eric Wattree III, an Eastern Washington University commit, had 16 points for South Kitsap, which will play Kentlake in an elimination game at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Auburn.
At No. 3 Curtis 83, Kentlake 45: Aushanti Potts-Woods scored a game-high 27 points, and Glenn Jordan added 19 for the Vikings, who led by 21 points at halftime.
Curtis (21-2) has won its two games since losing to Federal Way in the SPSL championship game Feb. 4.
Kevin Baker and Austin McBryde each scored 19 points for Kentlake.
Chris Wells contributed to this report