Talia Walton, the top all-around player for the top-ranked Federal Way girls basketball team and a University of Washington recruit, will be on crutches tonight (Friday) when the Eagles play No. 8 Auburn Riverside — the defending 4A state champion — for the South Puget Sound League 4A title and No. 1 seed into the West Central/Southwest Bi-District tournament.
The 6-foot-1 Walton, who averages 16.9 points and 13.2 rebounds and was recently named the South Division’s MVP, suffered a small tear in her MCL in practice two days ago, according to coach Danny Graham. He said she “might” be able to return if the Eagles (19-1) qualify for the state tournament.
It’s another blow for a team that recently had 5-10 Ty Burgess (averaging 14 points and 8.3 rebounds) quit for undisclosed reasons.
The Eagles still have plenty of other talent. In fact, they dominated the SPSL South voting with four first-team selections plus Walton as MVP. Senior Brittany Barrington, who missed the first part of the season with a knee injury, made the list along with juniors Darah Huertas-Vining and Dyesha Belhumeur and sophomore Raven Benton.
Auburn Riverside (17-3), on the other hand, is just getting healthy again as Kendall Foster and Jalea Crump returned to action this month after early season injuries. Foster had eight key points in Tuesday’s victory over Kentwood that gave the Ravens the SPSL North title. AR is led by Kat Cooper, who shared SPSL North MVP honors with Kentwood’s Kylie Huerta and Mount Rainier’s Brittany McPhee.
I still expect this to be a great game, which will be played at ShoWare at 6:30 p.m.