High School Sports

Prep Roundup: Life Christian boys remain unbeaten, rout Willapa Valley

Quick, can you name the lone undefeated high school basketball team in Pierce County?

If Mark Lovelady wasn’t actually coaching the team, he might not even believe that the Life Christian Academy boys are off to this kind of stunning start.

And it continued Saturday night.

After giving up the opening basket, the No. 5 Eagles scored 22 of the next 24 points, blowing out No. 9 Willapa Valley, 68-28, in Tacoma.

Senior Andy Comfort had his best effort of the season — 16 points and 16 rebounds — for Life Christian (17-0), which continued the best start in program history. Luke Grocott added 15 points and Luke Lovelady added 10 points, five rebounds and six assists.

“We are big, but yet we can run the floor. We are big, but we can play defense,” Lovelady said. “So it is not just length and size — our guys are athletic and can get out and run.”

Willapa Valley found out that getting inside the long-armed, aggressive Eagles is a chore.

Dylan Barrett sank a jumper to give the Vikings a short-lived lead 40 seconds into the game. After that, they missed 16 of their next 17 shots to close out the quarter.

“Our length affects everyone. It really impacts how we play,” Comfort said. “They were not ready for it.”

With Comfort and Luke Lovelady on the wings, and a legitimate post threat in Grocott, Life Christian — which really wants to get out and run first — can beat you in so many different ways.

It is really up to point guard Wyatt Dunlap, a four-year varsity regular, to make it all go. On Saturday, he was on his game.

The Eagles scored on seven consecutive possessions in the first quarter — and eventually took a 22-4 lead on Grocott’s bucket at the 6:47 mark of the second quarter.

Willapa Valley (14-3) finally snapped the Eagles’ 22-2 run on two Chase Flemetis free throws a minute later.

“The sky is the limit with this team,” Lovelady said. “When you get guys who like to play with each other, that get along, that work hard and are coachable, it creates an atmosphere where it is easy to coach, but it is a lot of fun for the kids.”

Curtis 54, at Bethel 50: Cedrice Howard’s putback basket for Curtis with eight seconds to go broke a 50-50 tie, and the Vikings (14-4, 9-1 SPSL South) handed the Braves (12-5, 10-1) their first league loss.

Jalaiya Frederick led Curtis with 20 points, including two late free throws to seal the win.