In what eventually progressed into a matchup of top-ranked teams, No. 1 Federal Way held off No. 2 Union for a 61-58 victory in the 4A state semifinals Friday at the Tacoma Dome. The Eagles led 26-7 in the first but had to battle in the end for a trip to the title game.
TACOMA — In what eventually progressed into a taut matchup of top-ranked teams, No. 1 Federal Way (26-2) held off No. 2 Union (23-2) for a 61-58 victory in the 4A state semifinals Friday at the Tacoma Dome.
The Eagles play Davis (21-4) in the state-title game Saturday at 9 p.m. The Pirates defeated Woodinville 63-52 earlier in the day to advance.
Union whittled a 19-point Federal Way lead to make it interesting. Late in the fourth quarter, crucial mistakes on both sides almost decided the game. With Federal Way leading 60-58, Davis’ Micah Paulson had the ball in his hands beyond the three-point line but never got a shot off because the clock expired.
Paulson, who had 18 points, air-balled a three from the corner on Union’s next possession and the Eagles’ Christian Jones made one of two free throws with 7.1 seconds remaining.
State Hoops 2015Boys:
- 3A, 4A boys team capsules
- Boys brackets
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- Garfield claws into state title game, beats Seattle Prep in 3A semis
- Federal Way makes it interesting in 4A semifinal win over Union
- Davis ends woodinville's magical season in 4A semifinals
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- 3A, 4A girls team capsules
- Girls brackets
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- Alex Hagen steps up to carry Inglemoor into 4A girls final
- Cleveland beats Bishop Blanchet, in place to claim third straight 3A girls title
- Lynnwood leaves no doubt in 3A semis, rolls past No. 1 Bellevue
- Walla Walla ends young Bothell's season in 4A consolation game
- Claire Martin's 19 points surges Bellarmine Prep past Skyview in 4A consolation
- Bigs push West Seattle to 3A consolation win over Prairie
- Arlington bounces back from opening loss, beats Moses Lake in 3A consolation
Federal Way almost gave the game away as well, going just 4 of 9 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. Viont’e Daniels, who finished with a game-high 27 points, maintained one mindset as everything almost unraveled for the Eagles.
“Attack, attack, they double team, find my teammates,” he said. “My shots weren’t falling but thank God for my teammates. We pulled together as a unit and got the win.”
Federal Way made things look easy at the start. The Eagles jumped to a 26-7 lead in the opening quarter, fueled by 14 from Daniels. The senior had his way with the Union defense from the opening tip, nailing three-pointers on back-to-back possessions and a reverse lay-in to give Federal Way a quick 10-4 lead. (Jalen McDaniel had the other bucket.)
“I got a rhythm in warm-ups, made sure I got good looks. I knew what kind of shots I would be taking in the game,” said Daniels.
In the second half, Federal Way’s 6-foot-9 McDaniels and Union’s 6-foot-6 Riley Hawken battled tooth and nail in the paint. McDaniels (five points, 12 rebounds and four blocks) and Hawken (14 points and 11 rebounds) fought for every rebound, giving their teammates extra opportunities on the offensive end.
“You’ve got one guy who’s long and super athletic and then one guy who uses his muscle a little bit,” said Union head coach Blake Conley. “Riley (Hawken) hasn’t gone against a guy like that. I thought both those guys played really hard.”
For everything Hawken did, McDaniels had an answer. Midway through the quarter Hawken went up for a layup from point-blank range, only to have McDaniels block the shot.
“I thought it made the difference of the day,” said Federal Way coach Jerome Collins of McDaniels’ effort. “I told him at the beginning, if you dominate the paint as a big man, we have a great shot at winning. He rose to the occasion, he really did.”