(University Place, WA) Four of the top 4A teams in the state all met in Curtis for the semifinals of the bi-District 3/4 tournament on Thursday night. Three of them came in ranked in the top 4 of the latest AP Poll but only two would advance to the championship game. In an appetizer to the environment we will see in the Tacoma Dome in a couple of weeks, it would be the SPSL flexing their muscle to set up a rubber match between Olympia and Curtis on Saturday night. But, it would not be easy for either team along the way.

Olympia 77, Federal Way 68

Game #1 saw the Olympia Bears take on the highly touted defense of the Federal Way Eagles. The Eagles came in as the unanimous #1 team in the AP Poll while Olympia were ranked #4. Federal Way never let Olympia run away with the game but Olympia never let the Eagles take the lead after the opening quarter as the Bears earned a hard-fought victory 77-68.

The opening quarter saw Olympia get off to a scorching hot start. Senior Parker Gerrits led Olympia but the big man down low in Andreas Engholm threw off the Eagle offense early in the 2-3 zone of Olympia. After a timeout, Federal Way found their footing. Isaiah Afework and Vaughn Weems started muscling the ball down low and points in the paint got Federal Way right back in the game. The Eagle defense also created turnovers to live up to their hype and at the end of the opening quarter Olympia’s lead was just 20-16 with 10 of the Bears points coming from Gerrits.

It was more of the same in the 2nd quarter for both sides. Olympia again shot lights out and built the lead back up close to double digits. Again, the defense of Federal Way created easy offensive opportunities that brought Federal Way right back. Colton West hit a couple of threes of the bench while Weems continued his steady first half. The speed both teams played at really kept the defenses at a disadvantage. The threes weren’t as friendly to Federal Way as they were to Olympia and the Bears held onto a slim lead at halftime 36-33.

Some how, Olympia shot even better in the 3rd quarter. Parker Gerrits stayed red hot but it was Mason Juergens that really got Olympia rolling. Juergens hit two big threes and as a team Olympia shot 9 for 11 in the quarter and a whopping 67% through the first three quarters. Federal Way still had a good quarter on offense to keep them within striking distance. Dace Pleasant really got going in the 3rd and Kofi Peyton and Colton West hit some key shots but it wasn’t enough to keep Olympia from pulling away. Going to the 4th quarter, Olympia had a 59-50 lead.

After the Bears got their lead to double figures, Federal Way once again stormed back. Weems and Pleasant were the offensive barrage for the Eagles and the defense started giving Olympia some major issues. A three by Dace Pleasant was followed by an and-1 jumper which he completed at the free throw line to make it just a 63-62 lead for Olympia with under 4 minutes left in the game.

Then the shots quit dropping for the Eagles and Parker Gerrits took the game over completely. The Olympia senior had three blocked shot on Federal Way three point attempts and in the 4th quarter could not miss on the offensive end. Gerrits went 13 for 22 from the field in the game and a perfect six for six from the free throw line in the game. A couple of incredible and-1 finishes were the dagger in the game and Olympia hung on to a 77-68 win.

The MVP of the game was Parker Gerrits who scored a game high 31 points mixed with some big time blocks and dime passes for assists. Gerrits did it all on Thursday night for Olympia to help the Bears punch their tickets to a District Championship game on Saturday night. The senior kept the great Eagle defense on their toes by mixing up his takes to the basket with some step back jumpers which were all successful.


Olympia: Gerrits 31, Juergens 19, Engholm 13, Carlson 8, Lindblomc3, Downing 3

Federal Way: Pleasant 20, Weems 17, West 12, Afework 9, Lewis 7, Peyton 3

Curtis 79, Camas 46

The final score tells one story but the game itself was a completely different tale. The defending state champions did end up with a comfortable win, but in the first half it was Camas throwing heavy haymakers that rocked the Vikings early before they could settle in on their homecourt.

Sloppy would be an understatement to describe the opening quarter. Uncharacteristic turnovers by Curtis allowed Camas to start quick and jump out to an early lead. Josh Dabasinskas was the recipient of some great passes by Camas and scored a quick six points for the Papermakers. It would be Tyce Paulson to step up towards the end of the quarter for Curtis. The senior would hit a three plus some free throws on his way to a seven point quarter to help Curtis take the lead after one, 13-8.

Quarter number two saw more of the Curtis team that we are accustomed to seeing. Zoom Diallo found his scoring groove but it was a couple of guys off the bench that really helped Curtis build a solid halftime lead. Josiah Johnson and Bilal El Ghalemi both entered the game in the 2nd quarter and each scored six points while providing excellent defense for the Vikings. Camas actually found more success on offense in the 2nd quarter as well due to others getting involved. A couple of three balls by forwards Jamison Carlisle and Ethan Harris kept Camas within striking distance at halftime but it would be a 33-22 lead for Curtis.

In the 2nd half, Curtis caught fire. The defense locked down the Papermakers, especially in the 4th quarter where Camas only mustered six points. Tyce Paulson caught fire from the corner and knew that was his spot. If it wasn’t Paulson, it was Cinque Maxwell who after a quiet four point first half would finish with 20 in the game. Camas was still in the game after three at 57-40 but the defense of Curtis was just too much in the final eight minutes. Paulson led the charge on that end was well with multiple steals and the Vikings transition offense looked unstoppable. After the subs came in and the final horn sounded, it would be Curtis knocking off a very game Camas squad 79-46.

The MVP of the game was Tyce Paulson who kept Curtis out in front despite a rough first half as a whole. His very strong third quarter helped Curtis pull away while his defense resulted in lost possessions for Camas and easy transition baskets the other way. In a half that was a nightmare for Curtis, Paulson was the guy to dig them out of that funk and the senior was the leader for the Vikings on Thursday night.


Camas: Dabasinskas 16, Carlisle 7, VanVoorhis 6, McMillan 6, Harris 5, Currie 4, Washington 1, Nesland 1

Curtis: Maxwell 20, Paulson 17, Diallo 14, El Ghalemi 10, Whitten 8, Johnson 6, Koch 2, Logan 2

Next up will be a four game finale on Saturday at Curtis High School. You can view the schedule below and all four games will be streamed on ESN starting at 11am. You can also view the highlight playlists for both games below.

Saturday Schedule

Camas vs. Federal Way (Boys 3rd Place)- 10:45 Pregame, 11am Tip-Off

Emerald Ridge vs. Sumner (Girls 3rd Place)- 1:45 Pregame, 2pm Tip-Off

Olympia vs. Curtis (Boys Championship)- 4:45 Pregame, 5pm Tip-Off

Camas vs. Tahoma (Girls Championship)- 7:45 Pregame, 8pm Tip-Off





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