The Conquerors ended the Eagles’ 63-game win streak and beat them in the district title game. Federal Way wins the more important matchup in regionals.
PUYALLUP — This was a streak Federal Way coach Jerome Collins was happy to see come to an end.
Benefiting from tough defense, great bench play and a game-high 22 points by Rashon Slaughter, Federal Way rebounded from two straight losses this month to Kentwood — the first one breaking a 63-game winning streak — to defeat the Conquerors 70-61 in a Class 4A regional playoff game Saturday night at Puyallup High School.
“Personally, I don’t like to lose,” Collins said. “Our guys don’t like to lose. This was about pride. Not only did they beat us, they beat us pretty good. We looked at the celebration, and we used it as motivation.
“I thought we maintained our sense of playing hard, and I’m proud of the guys for that.”
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With the win, the Eagles (24-2), seeded fourth by the state’s RPI rankings, earned a first-round bye in the state tournament and will not play until Thursday at 9 a.m. No. 5 Kentwood (23-3) will open play on Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. against No. 13 Bellarmine Prep.
Federal Way, the two-time defending state 4A champs, seemed to have this game won at halftime. The Eagles led 18-4 before the game was six minutes old. By intermission, Federal Way led 37-19 as the Conquerors struggled to hit shots.
Kentwood rallied with a 26-point third quarter, highlighted by a trio of three-pointers by Rayvaaughn Bolton, and trailed 49-45 heading into the fourth.
The Eagles opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 burst, ignited by a three-pointer by reserve Palofino Jatta. Kentwood pulled as close as 58-53 with 3 minutes, 35 seconds to play but never drew any closer. Slaughter scored six of Federal Way’s final seven points, four of them on free throws.
Jatta finished with 13 points. Marcus Stephens and Malcolm Cola each had 11 for the Eagles. Bolton and Beau Roggenbach both had 16 to lead Kentwood. Koby Huerta had 11 and Darius Labom finished with 10.
“We didn’t defend or rebound as well as we had in the first two,” Kentwood coach Blake Solomon said, “and then we just didn’t make shots. It’s as simple as that. They were a little bit more physical than we were tonight, and shots just didn’t go in. We can’t let shots not going down dictate how we defend and rebound, but tonight it did. We didn’t seize the moment early and then played catch-up all night.”
Collins was pleased with his squad’s defensive effort. “We did a good job of keeping the pressure on,” he said.
“The threes from Kentwood are what beat you, and we obviously wanted to stop the threes. We’re not accustomed to losing, and I don’t know when the last time was that we lost back to back. It was important to come out and establish ourselves and have some pride. Our kids came out and played hard.”
• In an earlier girls regional game, Todd Beamer eliminated Rogers (18-8) 73-61. Makenzie Bond and Japhera McEachin each scored 24 for the Titans (21-6), who will play Kentridge Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in a first-round game.