Basketball fans at Sullivan Arena were treated to a well-played Class 2A boys semifinal between Hooper Bay and Dillingham on Tuesday.
Both teams dazzled fans with all varieties of stellar play and, if not for the scoreboard, it would have been tough to tell which team won. Hooper Bay, led by Class 2A player of the year Kacy Green’s game-high 18 points, used a fourth-quarter surge to pull off a 43-42 victory.
“It was really exciting,” Green said. “The atmosphere, it was a really intense game. We got a lot of fans out here.”
Tied 29-29 after three quarters, Hooper Bay started the fourth quarter on a 5-0 run and clung to a narrow lead until the end. Dillingham’s Kenneth Savo buried a 3-pointer with less than a second left for the game’s final points and said he thought the Wolverines could have pulled off a win if there was only a little more time.
“It’s a good experience,” said Savo, a sophomore playing in his first state tournament. “Hopefully next year I’ll have the opportunity to come back here.”
Savo was one of three Wolverines to score in double figures, hitting for 10 points to go with Cole Schlagel’s team-high 14 and Cade Schlagel’s 12.
Harold Hoelscher contributed 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds for Hooper Bay, which switched from a man-to-man defensive scheme in the third quarter to a zone defense in the fourth quarter and Green thought that switch was the key to the win.
“Our defense really stepped up,” he said.
Metlakatla 42,Bristol Bay 39
A long, wild day of state championship basketball at Sullivan Arena came to a close with a wild finish between Metlakatla and Bristol Bay in a Class 2A boys semifinal.
His team clinging to a two-point edge, Metlakatla’s Tory Shier made a daring steal in the game’s final seconds to preserve a 42-39 win.
“It was pretty risky, but it was a good one,” Shier said of his steal near the Metlakatla baseline. “The whole last quarter was scary for us. It was a little nerve-wracking for us, because we’re not used to playing in a stadium like this.”
Shier was fouled shortly after making the steal. He missed the first of two free throws, but made the second to cement the win with less than a second remaining.
Tristan Alexander, the only player on the floor wearing a beard, was a monster in the paint for Metlakatla. The 6-foot-3 junior pulled in a game-high 16 rebounds to go with a team-high 15 points, making up for a slow start to the tournament in Monday’s first round.
“He averages 13, 14 (points) a game and he had two points yesterday, a season low,” said Metlakatla coach Tony Scott. “He gave us a huge boost on the offensive end.”
Everett Moorcroft was Bristol Bay’s primary sparkplug, recording a double-double by halftime on his way to a game-high 27 points and 15 rebounds. He gave Bristol Bay a 34-33 lead when he hit a jumper with 2:33 to play and said he felt good about the Angels’ chances at that point.
“We could have been a little more in shape, we could have been a little more in control,” Moorcroft said. “The better team came out on top.”
Tristan Winter, who finished with 11 points for Metlakatla, made a big play late in the game when he drove the length of the floor for a layup and drew a foul in the process. He swished the subsequent free throw to put the Chiefs up 40-34 with 39 seconds left. After a score by Bristol Bay and another free throw from Winter, Moorcraft drilled a 3-pointer to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 41-39 with 16 seconds left. Two missed free throws ended Metlakatla’s next possession to set up a dramatic finish.
“This game was so tight the whole way,” Scott said. “I felt like we were always kind of leading the game, but they would not let us get away. It was so tense the whole time.”