When Class 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict boys basketball tournament play continued Wednesday night, after the recent snowstorm forced a five-day break, there was plenty of drama.
Federal Way High School, which is ranked as the No. 21 team in the nation by MaxPreps, can still carry the designation of 4A state favorite — but just barely.
In a back-and-forth bidistrict quarterfinals game at Stadium High School in Tacoma, Puyallup nearly handed the Eagles their first in-state loss of the season, and held their high-flying transition offense in check most of the way, before Federal Way pulled away late for a 73-64 win.
“It was a great game for our guys at this time of year,” Puyallup coach Scott Campbell said. “I think they believe they can win, and I think they played like that tonight.”
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“It shows we’re tough,” Puyallup junior Kendall Munson said. “We can hang with anybody in the state. We should have a good run.”
Puyallup (17-6) became the first team in Washington this season to lose to the Eagles (21-2) by single digits — and the only team to lose by less than 20 points — by consistently slowing pace throughout the contest, and getting standout forwards Jaden McDaniels and Tari Eason into early foul trouble.
“We knew that they had a top-five player in the country in Jaden, and had Tari, so our game plan was to stop them, slow them down and execute on offense,” Munson said.
Federal Way didn’t make its decisive run until midway through the fourth quarter, and didn’t completely shut the door on the Vikings until the final minute of the game, when a series of missed Puyallup shots paired with Eagles free throws helped them close out the win.
“We tried to eat the clock up a little bit, and get out with the W,” Federal Way coach Yattah Reed said. “We were in foul trouble early, so we couldn’t do what we were accustomed to doing, because we would be risking getting more fouls.
“So, we had to play conservatively in the first half, and that kind of threw us off a little bit. Jaden picked up his fourth foul in the third, and at that point, it was just keep the game close so I can get him back in the game for the fourth quarter.”
After trailing by a point entering the final period, Federal Way did enough to build a double-digit cushion before McDaniels, the No. 5 recruit in the country in 2019, fouled out with 2:31 to go.
Eason, another Division I prospect who led the Eagles with 26 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, fouled out 30 seconds later.
Federal Way had an 11-point lead at that point, and though the Vikings trimmed it as close as seven, they never seriously threatened the lead in the final two minutes.
“The positive out of this is the guys have confidence — we can win this game with our two guys on the bench — but at the same time, we just have to play better defense,” Reed said.
McDaniels still finished with 18 points and eight boards despite spending long stretches on the bench. Both he and Eason had three fouls before Federal Way took a 29-25 lead into the half.
Jishai Miller (14 points, five rebounds, four assists) and Jalen Womack (12 points, seven rebounds, five assists) also finished in double digits scoring for the Eagles.
Munson led all scorers with 29 points, completed a double-double with 11 boards and added four steals to pace Puyallup.
“I thought he was the best player on the court tonight. That’s my opinion,” Campbell said. “He’s a great kid, a great teammate and a great competitor. I thought he battled the whole game, and played great and executed what we were asking him to do.”
Cobi Campbell added 15 points for the Vikings, while Jaeden Ingram had 13.
Puyallup will play a loser-out game against Kennedy Catholic at 6 p.m. Thursday at Mount Tahoma.
Federal Way, which notched a trip to the state regionals with the win, will meet undefeated Union in the bidistrict quarterfinals at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Stadium.
P – Cobi Campbell 15, Jacob Holcomb 3, Zane Foster 2, Kendall Munson 29, Jaeden Ingram 13, Dylan Rhoades 2.
FW – Jishai Miller 14, Jaden McDaniels 18, Jalen Womack 12, Bradley Graham 3, Tari Eason 26.