Kennedy falls from state tourney field

By Tim Clinton

TACOMA--Back-to-back losses Thursday and Friday left the Kennedy Catholic boys basketball team just shy of official placement in the state Class 4A tournament in the Tacoma Dome.

The Lancers fell to No. 1-seeded Union by a 73-49 score in the state quarterfinals Thursday then lost to twice defending champion and No. 4-seeded Federal Way, 77-56, in a Friday morning game for state placement.

Federal Way went on to play for fourth and sixth place Saturday, while Kennedy left with a tie for seventh place after coming in as the No. 10 seed.

"We had a really good year," said Lancers head coach Don Hoffman after the season-ending loss to Federal Way. "I'm very proud of this group."

Kennedy Catholic was making its second-straight state appearance after going as a 3A school last year.
The Lancers have since moved up to 4A, but still made the final eight at state.

"It's been a good experience for us to do that," said Hoffman of the change. "Hopefully we'll build on it and get more kids into the school."

Federal Way was coming off a disappointing loss to Richland the day before and missed playing for a third-straight 4A title.

"Obviously we're not where we want to be," said Eagles head coach Jerome Collins. "But we still fight and dig and get knocked down and get back up. They got over that and turned it on."

Kennedy Catholic led as late as 1:16 to go in the first quarter, 16-12, after a basket by Jared Thurber.
But Marcus Stephens of the Eagles answered with a 3-pointer at the other end and teammate Elijah Nnanabu scored the last basket of the quarter at the 1.4 second mark to give the team the lead to stay, 17-16.

The Lancers still clung within 35-28 at halftime before Federal Way built a 56-42 advantage by the end of the third quarter.

Emilio Mancol led Kennedy with 20 points and Trevor Hoffman tossed in 10 and Thurber eight. Matthew Sasonoff led with five assists and tied Thurber for the lead in rebounds at six ahead of Hoffman's five.
Rashon Slaughter paced the Eagles with 25 points and Stephens added 21.

Sasonoff scored 20 to lead the Lancers against Union on Thursday. Thurber and Hoffman hit eight apiece.

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