Kentwood girls, Tahoma boys ready for hoops playoffs

Some things were settled at the end of the regular season in high school basketball while other situations still needed to be resolved.

Tahoma’s boys won the South Puget Sound League North title with its 71-62 overtime win Jan. 29, the first league crown for the boys in school history.

Meanwhile, Kentwood’s girls  lost to Auburn Riverside in a tiebreaker game Tuesday night to determine who would finish second and third in the North. A year ago the two teams were tied heading into the final game of the season, Kentwood won its game and Auburn Riverside lost.

For the Bears, this season has been quite a ride. Senior Paul Loranger described it as the best year of high school hoops for him after beating Auburn soundly. He explained then the team won just a handful of games when he was a freshman. A year ago Tahoma lost in a series of mini-games to break a three-way tie and didn’t make the playoffs.

For first-year Tahoma coach Brian Davis, the accomplishments of the team have been memorable.

“Winning a league championship is a special memory for this team, our program, and community,” Davis wrote in an email interview. “But the players know that to continue to be successful they need to refocus for the playoffs. We will work as a team to continue to look for ways to tweak and improve our play as the exciting time of year gears up.”

There are some lessons to be learned before Tahoma takes on Curtis, the No. 1 team from the SPSL South, Thursday night at ShoWare Center in Kent, in a seeding game for the district tournament.

After securing the North crown, Tahoma couldn’t hold off a determined Thomas Jefferson squad on the road in the last game of the season Feb. 1.

“Each game provides its own lessons from the wins and the losses,” Davis wrote. “At this time of year we have to focus on playing loose, with joy and relentless competitiveness. Our players do a tremendous job of learning lessons from each game. It will be exciting to see how this group continues to improve and play better every game.”

With the loss to Riverside Tuesday night, Kentwood will play Federal Way at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Puyallup for the fifth and sixth seeds into the district tournament which starts next week.

Kentwood finished the regular season 13-3 in SPSL North play and is 16-5 overall. A year ago the Conquerors lost in the regional round of the state playoffs.

Conquerors coach Lisa Ashley wrote in an email interview that the team is coming together despite some ups and downs in stretches at the beginning of the year then at the end of the regular season.

“As a team we are starting to peak at the right team,” Ashley wrote. “The team is really starting to gel. We have struggled this year with many different injuries and illnesses but continue to work with who we have at the time.”

Games played this week in the South Puget Sound League are for seeding into the West Central-Southwest Bi-District tournament which starts Feb. 12. The district championship games will be played at ShoWare Feb. 17.


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