There’s a reason the Anchorage Christian boys basketball team has won its own tournament the past two seasons, and it’s not because the tournament is stacked in the host’s favor.
On the strength of an explosive second quarter Saturday, the Lions used solid fundamentals and a balanced lineup to blow past South 75-57 in the championship game.
“It’s a team effort and I think everyone did well,” ACS coach Ron Hoffman said. “It’s a lot of pressure. It’s great practice for state and regions.”
Though ACS is far from being a one-man show, it was Gus Simmers who most often brought cheers from the packed ACS gym. He showed off dazzling moves around the rim on his way to a team-high 21 points.
Every ACS player on the floor displayed the ability to shoot, handle the ball and play defense. Immanuel Lopez pumped in 12 points for the Lions, Jalen Terry added 12, Nate Simmers nailed 11 and tournament most valuable player Calvin Hoffman chipped in nine.
“Hey, I’ll take a win any day,” Gus Simmers said. “Honestly, we got a lotta work to do.”
ACS reached the Class 3A state title game for the past two seasons, winning it all in 2011 and losing to Monroe last season. Simmers wants to make sure the Lions get back to the title game and said hard work lies ahead.
“Gus is never happy with his play, doesn’t matter if he has 40,” Ron Hoffman said. “He’s a perfectionist. He doesn’t like anything less than his best.”
South, a Class 4A team, showed plenty of positives, finding success in the post early with Louis Page and David Alston.
The score was tied 13-13 after one quarter, but ACS put up 32 points in the second quarter to lead 45-30 and the Lions maintained a comfortable lead until the end.
“They changed our whole game plan,” said Page, who finished with a game-high 25 points. “Once they got the momentum, we tried to run with ’em and that’s where we fell short.”
The original plan was to pound the post and maintain a half-court style of play, said Alston, who finished with 18 points.
“It’s always fun playing in a championship game,” Alston said. “It’s loud and its fun. We gotta stick to the game plan and I think if we would’ve, we would’ve won that game.”
In other games Saturday, Bethel landed three players in double figures to stifle Sitka 54-30 in the third-place game.
Austin Miller scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half for Bethel. Carlie Romer and Taylor Hoffman each finished with 10.
The Warriors held Sitka to less than 10 points in each period while scoring a combined 35 points in the second and third periods.
Brian Way was Sitka’s only player in double figures, racking up 17 points.
In other games, Valdez finished fifth with a 51-40 win over Glennallen and Barrow took seventh place with a 58-30 win over Skyview.
Valdez trailed Glennallen by four at halftime but put together a big second half behind Levi Auble, who exploded for 19 of his game-high 24 points after intermission. Jacob Perez added 13 for the Buccaneers.
Brady Parmeter pumped in 13 for Glennallen.
Barrow took charge early in its win over Skyview, taking a 28-18 halftime lead. Led by 12 points from Lawrence Kaleak and 10 from Glenn Suvlu, the Whalers got points from 10 players.
Jacob Carlson led Skyview scorers, depositing seven of his nine points in the first half.
ACS Lime Solar/Pepsi Invitational
Calvin Hoffman (MVP), ACS; Austin Miller, Bethel; Gus Simmers, ACS; Jack Hobbs, South; Brian Way, Sitka; Ito Naneng, Bethel; Louis Page, South; Levi Auble, Valdez; Immanuel Lopez, ACS.
By JEREMY PETERS