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AUBURN, Wash. — O’Dea’s boys basketball team turned a weakness around on Saturday night during the first round of the Hardwood Invite at Auburn High School.

“That’s kind of a problem we’ve been having this season, is slow starts,” senior Owen Moriarty said. “So we really wanted to set the tempo early.”

The Irish set the tempo, zipped to a 13-point lead after one quarter, and really never looked back in a 67-53 victory over bigger Gonzaga Prep. The win advances O’Dea into the quarterfinals on Sunday.


Here are three takeaways:


Moriarty led the charge during the 25-point first quarter, pouring in 11 points as the Irish built a 25-12 advantage after the first 8 minutes.

Takeo Staten-Sylvester picked up for Moriarty, who finished with a game-high 23 points, in the second quarter. Staten-Sylvester added nine of his 15 points in the second as O’Dea extended its advantage to 43-23 by the half.

Ultimately, the lead grew to as much as 24, when Mason Williams scored with 5:30 left in the third quarter, to push the margin to 49-25.

“It’s not like a coming-out party, but like a statement for us,” Staten-Sylvester said. “I feel like people don’t talk about us that much. And I feel like we’re one of the top teams in the Metro.”

O’Dea was one of two Metro League blowout winners in the first round on Saturday, after Garfield beat King’s, 80-64.


As dominating as O’Dea was for most of this one, which allowed coach Jason Kerr to get minutes for his entire bench, the Bullpups still walked away feeling okay. Gonzaga Prep’s relatively inexperienced squad staged a late mini-run, outscoring the Irish 12-4 over the final 6:41 of the game.

That closed the gap from 63-41 to the final 14-point deficit, meaning the Bullpups played virtually even over the final three quarters.

“We knew that their pressure was going to be hard to handle,” Gonzaga Prep coach Matty McIntyre said. “That’s part of why we came over here. All in all, I’m really pleased. We’re going to take some lumps. But the kids are staying together.

“We’ve already accomplished one of the things we came here for, that’s to see that kind of pressure. So I’m leaving the gym, all in all, like hey, we got something done.”


The Bullpups got solid performances from Jayden Stevens with 16 points and Henry Sandberg with 15.

For O’Dea, it was a chance to face off against a big school – Class 4A Gonzaga Prep – that the Irish normally never would see.

“We’ve had a very good team the past two years,” Moriarty said. “I feel like people coming in are doubting us a little bit. We want to come in here, prove ourselves. We’re O’Dea. We’re always going to have a great team. We’re always going to be a top state contender.

“We wouldn’t have the opportunity to play a 4A team like Gonzaga Prep, especially across the state. We look at it as an opportunity to prove ourselves.”