Wolves upset Lynx
The girls bracket continued to go as seeded, but the Eagle River boys pulled off the first upset of the Cook Inlet Conference basketball tournament Wednesday at West High, the third straight day of first-round action.
Shaquan Rhoades erupted for 25 points to lead the sixth-seeded Eagle River boys to a 62-52 win over defending state champion Dimond, the tournament’s No. 3 seed.
Rhoades, who made 8 of 13 field goal attempts, added 12 rebounds and three steals and Eric Roberts added 13 points for Eagle River. The Wolves led by four points after one quarter, but used a big second quarter to forge a 29-14 lead at halftime.
Dimond, led by a game-high 27 points from Damon Cikanek, cut the lead to 10 points after three quarters, and played even with Eagle River in the final frame. Stanson Afoa hauled in a game-high 13 rebounds for the Lynx.
The loss eliminates Dimond from the CIC tournament, but the Lynx still have a slim chance of advancing to the state tournament.
The top two teams from the CIC gain automatic berths in the tournament, as do the top two teams from the Northern Lights Conference and the championship team from the Southeast and Fairbanks tournaments.
The remaining two berths will be awarded to the top two teams in the statewide WPI ratings. As of Monday, Dimond ranked fifth on that list, behind Service, Colony, East and West. If Colony finishes in the top two teams in the Northern Lights tournament, securing an automatic berth, CIC teams could fill both at-large spots based on the current WPI rankings.
In the girls game, third-seeded West eliminated sixth-seeded Chugiak, rolling to a 75-53 win.
West took control in the second quarter by outscoring Chugiak 28-9. Chanel Bookert racked game highs with 19 points and seven rebounds for the Eagles. Alistie Aguilar, on her 18th birthday, and Shiccia Harris-Grant each dropped in 13 points for West, with Chamira Cockerham adding 10 points and six rebounds.
The Mustangs, led by 14 points from Andre Samaniego, cut a 14-point halftime deficit to 11 through three quarters, but were outscored 20-9 in the fourth quarter.
Chugiak’s Brandy Bookout recorded 13 points to go with six rebounds, and Haley Scott kicked in 11 points. Anna Ingraham led the Mustangs on the boards with eighth rebounds.
The first round wraps up Thursday with a girls game between fourth-seeded South and fifth-seeded East, and a boys game between fourth-seeded West and fifth-seeded South. Semifinals take place Friday and finals are Saturday. The top two boys and girls teams earn automatic bids to the state tournament later this month.
Western Conference returns
For the second straight season, the Class 3A Western Conference boys and girls basketball champions will be crowned at Dimond High, where tournament action begins Thursday.
No Western Conference team is from Anchorage, but holding the tournament here is a less expensive option than having one of the conference schools host it. Barrow, Bethel, Nome and Kotzebue teams can each buy one ticket to Anchorage for less than it costs three teams to buy a ticket to Anchorage and another to the host village.
The top-seeded Barrow girls tip off the tournament against fourth-seeded Bethel on Thursday at 2:45 p.m. The boys begin play at 4:30 p.m., with a game between top-seeded Nome and fourth-seeded Kotzebue.
Finals take place Friday with the girls title game at 6:15 p.m. and the boys championship game at 8 p.m.
Western Conference basketball tournament
Wednesday's first round
At Dimond High
2:45 p.m. -- No. 1 Barrow vs. No. 4 Bethel
6:15 p.m. -- No. 2 Nome vs. No. 3 Kotzebue
4:30 p.m. -- No. 1 Nome vs. No. 4 Kotzebue
8 p.m. -- No. 2 Bethel vs. No. 3 Barrow
Anchorage Daily News