Before the Kentridge High School Chargers even knew what hit them, Federal Way built a 20-point lead in Saturday’s Class 4A NPSL boys championship game at Enumclaw High School.
Thanks in large part to seniors Jaden McDaniels — the consensus No. 5 player in the country in the 2019 class — and Tari Eason, the Eagles led 29-9 at the end of the first quarter en route to an 89-52 win.
“That’s the plan in all of our games, to try and set the tone and not let teams get comfortable,” Federal Way coach Yattah Reed said. “Kentridge is a good team, and we know if we allow them to set up in their motion offense, that they can hurt us, so we wanted to come out and be aggressive and just set the tone.
McDaniels and Eason combined to score 26 of the team’s 29 points in the first stanza, including several dunks that ignited the crowd.
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“They play well together,” Reed said. “What is the great thing, is that they feed off each other. They know their role, and that’s why were are having the success that we are.
“They are having the success that they are having because they are starting to understand from the films that we watch where they’ve got be at, and where is there best place to score and how they can be dominant.”
The Eagles’ lead continued to grow in the second quarter, where they outscored the Chargers 26-19 to lead 55-28 at halftime. McDaniels had 25 and Eason had 21 at the intermission.
Many of the Eagles’ points came in transition off steals created by the duo of McDaniels and Eason.
“We were just trying to go out and play defense and get up quick and pressure (the Chargers) good,” McDaniels said.
Junior guard Bradley Graham also chipped in 14 points for the Eagles. The Chargers were led by senior Owen Paznokas, who finished with 15 points.
The lead and the margin of victory were large, but Reed said not to read too much into that.
“The margin of victory doesn’t matter to us,” Reed said. “We just want the ‘W.’ We were just fortunate tonight to have that margin of victory, because Kentridge is a good team. That score does not reflect (how good Kentridge is).”
K – Moses Moore 12, Jeremy Banks 12, Keshawn Douglas 1, Ben Victoria 1, Adrian Pop 7, Owen Paznokas 15, Drew Liddell 6.
FW – Jishai Miller 8, Jaden McDaniels 31, Jalen Womack 5, Bradley Graham 14, Michael Jatta 2, Tari Eason 29.