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Posted On: 01/20/19 9:10 PM
Federal Way: Jaden McDaniels 6’10 SF/PF. Sr & Tari Eason 6’8 PF. Jr.
Adding Eason this offseason solidified Federal Way as the favorites to win 4A this season after coming up just short last season to Gonzaga Prep. The combination of Jaden and Tari is like a cheat code. But it’s not just the twin towers that make Federal Way so good, its the supporting cast. Jishai Miller, Jalen Womack and Bradley Graham makes things easy for their big men. (if things weren’t already easy enough)
What more can be said about McDaniels that hasn’t been said? Just incase you’ve been under a rock the last couple seasons, here’s the rundown: Jaden is a top 5 player in the country and has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant. At 6’10 Jaden has elite guard skills but can also play the post. He is very slim at this point but once he fills out, no telling what his ceiling is.
If there was a WIAA Most Improved Player award, Tari would be the unanimous winner. He went from not playing very much last year for 3A state championship winner Garfield, to a ESPNU Top 100 player. Tari is still a raw prospect. A superior athlete who can get out and run and defends at a high level. If he develops a consistent 15-18 foot jumper, he will be hard to stop.
These two together have made Federal Way games a “must see” event this season. They both have gone viral multiple times for there fast break dunks and big to big alley-oops. This duo leads a very good Federal Way team that will most likely end up back in the 4A championship game. Recent history is on their side as the last three teams to come in second in 4A has come back to win it the following season.
Gonzaga Prep: Anton Watson 6’8 PF/SF. Sr & Liam Lloyd 6’5 SG/SF. Jr.
Gonzaga Prep is coming off a perfect 27-0 season that was capped off with a 4A state title over Federal Way. This season the Bullpups are Undefeated in state, with their two loses coming to Bishop Gorman and University School in Florida. With the final stretch of the season upon us, Gonzaga looks ready for another postseason run.
Anton Watson is a 6’8 do it all forward. He has a never ending motor and great athletic ability. In every game this year (outside of the University School game) Anton has been head and shoulders above every player who stood opposite him. The 55th ranked player in the country (according to ESPNU 100) is the defending 4A player of the year and will be attend Gonzaga University next year. It would be nice to end his high school career going back-to-back.
Liam contributed big time in the Bullpups championship run last season and that has spilled over into this season. The son of long time Eastern Washington coach, Tommy Lloyd is a skilled sharpshooter with good size and length. Playing as Robin the Anton’s Batman, Liam has more responsibility this season but he has dealt with it very well. He will have too continue his solid play with playoffs quickly approaching.
The chance to repeat in 4A is a rare opportunity. This hasn’t been done in over a decade when Ferris won back-to-back in ’07-’08. These two Bullpups will have to carry majority of the work load in order to accomplish their ultimate goal.
Lynden Christian: Cole Bajema 6’7 SG. Sr. & Cristian Colwell 6’9 PF. Sr.
Lynden Christian is the highest rated team in all of Washington. (According to the latest WIAA RPI.) The defending 1A state champs haven’t skipped a beat this season. In the last 2 seasons, LC is an astounding 31-1. The Lyncs show no sign of slowing down this season. But they have a huge game coming up on the 25th against cross town rival and undefeated Lynden High School.
Cole Bajema is the best wing shooter in the state. The 6’7 guard is a deadeye from distance and a smooth operator in the paint. The Michigan commit is a certified bucket getter. Even though he was 1A player of the year, state tournament MVP and averaged over 25 points last season it wasn’t until this summer where he really blew up on the national level. Bajema is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential.
Cristian is a hard working big man who is the heart and soul of the team. While Cole is the superstar, its hard to envision LC having the same success without Cristian. His impact can not be documented on the stat sheet, he brings leadership, heart and high IQ.
While Bajema and Colwell are the leaders of the team, LC has one of the best all around teams in the whole state. That stems from great coaching and implementing a winning culture. With a big test coming up on the 25th, can Lynden Christian extend their win streak to 25 games?
Lynden: Christian Zamora 6’4 SG. Sr. & Clayton Whitman 6’6 SF. Sr.
The best 2A team has a case for best team in the state. Even though they aren’t currently ranked in the top 3 they have as good of a case as anyone. They have repeatedly beat good teams by 20 or more including O’Dea by 23 and Marysiville Pilchuck by 34. Lynden will be graduating 9 seniors after this season, so as of right now they have the most experienced and battle tested team in the state.
Christana Zamorais one of the most decorated 2A players ever and the best Lynden Lion in school history. He has a chance to become the school all-time scoring leader. He is best known for his shooting ability but that would be selling him short. He is a natural scorer. In a Lynden offense where they thrive off moving the ball and drive and kick threes, it seems tailor made for Zamora.
Seattle Pacific University have themselves a special player in Whitman. The 6’6 forward is a great high school player whose game will translate well on the next level. His scoring ability from inside and out makes him a mismatch for anyone. Lynden often runs its offense through him because he is the teams best all around player.
The 16-0 Lions are rolling through the season with an average win margin greater then 25 points per game. They will have their biggest test when they take on Lynden Christian, another undefeated team. Last year the Lions fell to the Lyncs 67-64, they will look to reverse that outcome this time around.
Marysville Pilchuck: Raequan Battle 6’5 SG. Sr. & Luke Dobler 6’1 PG. Jr.
Marysville started the season 1-3 but have won 12 straight since. During that stretch, they didn’t have Battle for 2 of the losses and just recently got Luke back on the court after a foot injury. The Tomahawks are now ranked 5thand are looking to run the table in league play and continue to dance their way to the tournament.
Raequan Battle is the 3rd ranked player in Washington and 93rd in the ESPNU 100. Battle has a unique combination of athleticism and shooting ability. He can knock down 30 footers with ease and throws down windmill dunks like they are lay ups. The University of Washington commit is averaging better then 25 ppg and has had some big scoring outings. None bigger then his 43 point outburst against Edmonds-Woodway. Which broke the school record for points in a single game.
Since Dobler has returned to the lineup, Marysville has looked like a new team. Last year, Luke was named first team All-Wesco. Adding an all league point guard will always change your team. Luke is a pure point guard and floor general who always puts his teammates in great positions to score.
This backcourt compliment each other very well. They make each others job easier and play off of one another. With Raequan being the elite scorer in Washington and Luke being one of the best point guards in the league, this backcourt duo has what it takes to make a serious noise this postseason. Are they good enough to compete with 3A’s best come tournament time?