Malcolm Cola had 32 points and 15 rebounds as the Eagles took down the Chargers 88-72 at the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament.
TACOMA — The Federal Way boys basketball team has not taken kindly to losing.
In the two games since the Eagles suffered their first loss in over two years, Federal Way has recaptured its winning ways in dominant fashion. The Eagles have outscored their last two opponents by 47, including Federal Way’s 88-72 victory over Kentridge Saturday afternoon in the Class 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district quarterfinals at Mount Tahoma High School.
The victory guarantees Federal Way at least a top-four finish in the bi-district tournament and a regional berth. By virtue of their No. 4 standing in the WIAA’s first RPI standings, the Eagles are assured of at least one game at the state tournament next month.
“It never gets old,” Federal Way coach Jerome Collins said of clinching the state berth. “It’s what we live for. The regular season, we’re trying to build and get better and better each day. … It’s a different season once the playoff hits.”
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Malcolm Cola was the star for Federal Way (22-1) with the senior netting 32 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. The 6-foot-7 Cola also blocked four shots.
“Malcolm was a man among boys,” Collins said. “He really controlled the paint offensively and defensively. He did an excellent job posting up.”
Cola echoed his coach’s sentiments about coming back strong from the 69-59 loss to Kentwood on Feb. 4, which ended a streak of 63 consecutive wins for the Eagles — a Class 4A record.
“That loss, it’s not a playoff loss so it didn’t mean that we were out,” Cola said. “We don’t like to lose at all. … After that loss, we were on to the next one.”
Along with Cola, Etan Collins (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Jaden McDaniels (13 points) were strong inside for Federal Way
“I thought they really controlled the paint,” Collins said. “ … Those three guys really anchored us this afternoon.”
Marcus Stephens added 18 for the Eagles, who will face Curtis in a semifinal at 6 p.m. Thursday at Mount Tahoma High School.
Federal Way is hoping to build another impressive winning streak — through at least March as the Eagles go for a third consecutive Class 4A state title.
“We have a lot of pride and tradition,” Collins said. “We don’t take losing easily. We’d love to be undefeated now, but we’re not. I thought we did a good job of refocusing and going to work. … The wins will take care of themselves.”
Senior Markel Banks led Kentridge (15-8) with 28 points, and AJ Chappell added 25 for the Chargers, who will face Mount Rainier in a loser-out game Wednesday.
• Beau Roggenbach had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Darius LuBom added 13 points and five steals as No. 3 Kentwood (21-2) cruised to a bi-district quarterfinal win, 76-60 win over Emerald Ridge (14-9). The Conquerors, the 4A state runner-up a season ago, clinched a regional berth and move on to face Union in a semifinal game Thursday night.
• In other bi-district games, John Moore scored 18 points to help lead No. 4 Curtis (20-2) to a seventh consecutive regional berth by beating Enumclaw 57-47. Cameron Cranston netted a game-high 21 points for No. 5 Union (17-3) to help the Titans withstand a late run by Bellarmine Prep and clinch a regional spot with a 63-53 win.