Sports

Mayfield's outburst lifts Wolves

"Tyler Mayfield took the phrase saving the best for last to a new level Thursday night against the Federal Way Eagles.The South Kitsap High School point guard poured in 19 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, carrying the Wolves to a 72-68 victory in the first round of the West Central District tournament.SK takes on Kentwood tonight at 6 p.m. at Puyallup High School in a quarterfinal matchup.The winner of that game not only moves into the semifinals but also earns a berth in the state tournament, something no SK team has accomplished since 1976. The win against Federal Way not only thrusts the Wolves into a winner-to-state game but also allowed SK seniors Beau Pilon, Buck Savage, and Justin Dudley to rid themselves of some inner demons after experiencing an early exit from districts last year (two and out).Tonight was definitely a confidence builder, especially after last year, Dudley said. Last year was a heartbreaker for a while.Mayfield clearly took over the game with 5:16 to go in the fourth quarter.After Savage increased SK's lead to 51-46, Mayfield immediately stole the inbound pass at the far right corner, and without hesitation, launched a 3-pointer to give SK a 54-46 lead.SK coach John Callaghan and his players unanimously agree that play was the turning point for the Wolves.After an Eagles' free throw, Mayfield came back and knocked down his second 3-pointer of the game to increase SK's lead to 57-47, the Wolves' largest lead of the game.Federal Way came right back with its own 3-pointer, but Mayfield hit a pair of free throws and netted another trey from the same corner that started his scoring binge.Mayfield nailed down the victory by hitting eight of his next 10 free throws.Tyler's (first 3-pointer), that was huge, to say the least, Callaghan said. That play, he gets a steal, turns and shoots a three with nobody else down there (to rebound) and you go 'oh no...right on.' He's just a gamer.Callaghan said he is still concerned about his team's slow starts.Though they've crawled out of some holes, Callaghan said his squad can't afford early setbacks against state-caliber teams.In the start I think we're just too excited instead of on an even keel, Callaghan said. I can't say enough about how hard we're playing, but our execution ... sometimes we're not doing the things we do in practice.Pilon said he's one of those players who needs to calm down at the start of games.I'm just thinking too hard and coming out too hyped, Pilon said. I don't know if everybody was, but I sure was. I have to start calming down.Federal Way did make it interesting in the final minute of the game.With SK leading 68-59 and 1:06 left, Federal Way made one last effort.Tui Avaava, who averages 17 points a game, was held to 13 points, but hit a jumper to pull the game within seven points.Federal Way's Teddy Williams hit a jumpshot and Virgil Mathews - who scored a game-high 32 points - drained a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to cut SK's lead to 71-68 with nine seconds remaining.But Mayfield drew a foul and hit one of two free throws to give SK a four-point cushion.The Eagles' final attempt barely drew iron and the Wolves escaped.Mayfield's fourth quarter overshadowed the domination of Pilon, who scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.Savage had a solid game with 13 points and nine rebounds.Dudley, who was responsible for defending Avaava, hit a pair of 3-pointers enroute to 13 points. "

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