Federal Way Claws their way to a State Final
By Colin Caruso
|Friday February 7th
Federal Way Eagles
In a much deserving matchup of two of the top teams in the state, the Union Titans faced off against the Federal Way Eagles, with an opportunity to face Davis in the 4A state finals. Davis would be a favorable matchup for the Eagles, who doubled up the Pirates early in the year, 88-43.
This game got out of control early. The athleticism of the Eagles was far too much for a one loss Union team to handle. Before anyone in the Tacoma Dome knew what was going on, Federal Way was off to a 23-6 lead and closed the first at 26-7.
Union finally woke up in the second quarter. Coach Conley emphasized defense and taking care of the basketball and that focus brought Union within 12. Unfortunately, they still could not stop Viont’e Daniels. He was in complete control of the first half and at one point had as many points (18) as Union had as a team. The Eagles led by 13, 40-27 at the half.
If you are down 13 at the half and are completely outmatched in both the half court and transition, it pays dividends to come out in the second half with more intensity than your opposition. That is what the Titans did, going on an 8-2 run to start the third, cutting the Eagle lead to just seven. Their momentum continued in the third quarter, and for some reason, Federal Way took their foot off the gas pedal and began to coast offensively. It was a close game going into the fourth, with the Federal Way lead down to just five points.
An immediate three to start the fourth from Micah Paulson of the Titans pulled Union within two points. Two free-throws by Paulson with 6 minutes remaining tied the game, the first tie since the game began. After a few back and forth possessions, Riley Hawken found himself at the line with 2:18 left, shooting two and down two. He made one, and the Eagles led 59-58. Ferron Flavors hit one free-throw for the Eagles to push the lead up to two, 60-58. A beautiful block by Jalen McDaniels gave Federal Way the ball back, but a steal by Hawken put the ball back in the Titans hands with 44 seconds remaining.
Without knowing the time remaining on the shot clock, Union turned the ball over and immediately fouled Christian Jones. Jones missed the front end, but the Eagles pulled an offensive rebound and got the ball to their star, Viont’e Daniels. He also missed the front end, giving Union a chance at the win with a rebound. Paulson got it for the Titans, pulled up for a transition three with 10 seconds remaining and missed everything, rebounded by the Eagles. Jones made one of two, giving the Titans yet another opportunity to tie, but this time Cameron Cranston’s three missed just left, and the Eagles pulled the hang on victory 61-58.
Viont’e Daniels – 27 points
Micah Paulson – 18 points 5 assists
Riley Hawken – 14 points 11 rebounds