TACOMA – Lewis and Clark’s running, pressing, trapping style got the Tigers’ boys basketball team to the state tournament for the first time in 20 years.
So when the Tigers were down 40-20 at halftime and had given up 26 points off turnovers Thursday night at the Tacoma Dome, it was safe to say the undefeated Federal Way team they were up against ran, pressed and trapped better. Lewis and Clark never got within 14 points in the second half of their 69-55 4A state quarterfinal loss to Federal Way.
“I don’t know how you simulate their speed, their swarming defense,” Lewis and Clark coach Jim Redmon said. “That was something that really cost us. We talked about it and we knew it was coming. But we haven’t seen that kind of speed and quickness in Spokane.”
Another thing tough to simulate: the lights-out shooting of Eagles senior guard Ferron Flavors, who had five three-pointers and 19 of his 21 points in the first half.
“We weren’t ready,” sophomore forward Naje Smith said. “We came out sloppy. They had a couple great plays and got us down early and we tried to battle back and it just wasn’t enough.”
Smith stood out for the Tigers, scoring a team-high 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting and leading all players with 15 rebounds.
“He’s been our go-to, and that’s as a sophomore. I’m just so proud of him. I just think his growth is going to continue. And he doesn’t play like a sophomore,” Redmon said of Smith, who is still 15. “I’m just proud of him because he never stopped, he played hard and he’s just a good kid.”
Senior center Vaughn Handel added nine points on 3-for-4 shooting in just 12 minutes for the Tigers (20-7), and senior forward Dominick Oliveri added six points and seven rebounds. But many Lewis and Clark players struggled to score, shooting 4 for 21 from three-point range and 3 for 10 from the free-throw line.
Federal Way (27-0) was led by Flavors’ 21 points, and junior guard Marcus Stephens, who had 11 points, nine assists, four rebounds and five steals.
“Hats off to ‘em,” Redmon said of the Eagles. “They’re doing a great job.”
Lewis and Clark will play in the consolation bracket Friday at 2 p.m.
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