A little more than four minutes into Thursday’s Class 4A state quarterfinals game, third-seeded Federal Way High School trailed fifth-seeded Richland by nine.
And the Eagles hadn’t scored. It looked for a moment the like the Eagles were in trouble.
But it takes a lot more than four minutes of good basketball to beat Federal Way. The Eagles (25-2) used a 26-6 run in the second quarter to take control of the game, eventually routing the Bombers, 81-58.
“It was our first game playing in here (this year),” Federal Way coach Yattah Reed said. “That was Richland’s second game. They were accustomed to the floor and the arena. And for our guys, that was our first time.
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“It was just jitters, and a combination of a couple of things. We cut the lead to four at the end of the first quarter, and I just told them to settle down. I think they finally settled down when we cut it to four, and then we got back to playing the style of basketball that we’re accustomed to playing.”
Senior Jishai Miller sparked the run for the Eagles, scoring 12 of hsi 14 points in the first half on 5 of 5 shooting.
“I played here last year, and I didn’t have a lot of success,” Miller said. “During the season, we played in some arenas that were a similar setting to what we’re playing in right now. … I was just used to shooting on that type of rim in an arena, so it felt comfortable for me.”
“Jishai, I call him a stat-stuffer,” Reed said. “He can score, he can rebound, he can pass, and he’ll guard the toughest guy for us.”
The Eagles got big games from standout junior Tari Eason, who finished with a game-high 22 points, and senior Jaden McDaniels, who had 17.
It’s Eason and McDaniels who get most of the attention for the Eagles, but Miller, junior Jaylen-Wes Williams (12 points) and senior Jalen Womack (11) all finished in double figures.
“Obviously Jaden and Tari are the focal point, but we really have guys that can play this game and they always step up when they need to,” Reed said.
“They’re built for it. They’ve been through it this whole season. It’s nothing foreign to them. We just tell them, ‘Be a superstar in your role and be ready.’ And that’s what we got today.”
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the tournament, the Eagles move on to face second-seeded and defending state champion Gonzaga Prep at 5:30 p.m. in Friday’s semifinals.
Despite being seeded second and third in the WIAA’s RPI rankings, the Eagles and Bullpups are both widely considered to be the top two 4A teams in the state. The game is a rematch of last year’s state title game, which Gonzaga Prep won.
“They are the champions,” Reed said. “In my opinion, they’re the No. 1 team until they get beat. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best, and we’re looking forward to the challenge. They’re a great team and they’ve got great players, just like we do. It should be a great game.”
NO. 5 RICHLAND
NO. 3 FEDERAL WAY
R – Shooting: 20 of 41 (48.8 percent). Free throws: 14 of 19 (73.7). Turnovers: 23.
F – Shooting: 29 of 55 (52.7 percent). Free throws: 15 of 20 (75). Turnovers: 12.
R – Dhaunye Guice 2, Cody Sanderson 6, Garrett Streufert 20, Colten Northrop 14, Jack Schuster 6, Ben Fewel 2, Jacob Kreutz 2, Conner Hofstad 2, Matthew Kump 4.
F – Jishai Miller 14, Jaden McDaniels 17, Jalen Womack 11, Bradley Graham 3, Tari Eason 22, Jaylen Wes-Williams 12, Dreyline Decuire 2.