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4A boys: T-birds rally to claim state basketball title

Doyle Woody
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Jarred Laws, center, celebrates the championship with his teammates after the final buzzer. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News East circles together to celebrate their victory. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News The Thunderbirds celebrate as the final horn sounds. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News East coach Josh Muehlenkamp pumps his fist. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News East's Jarred Laws hugs a teammate after the game. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News East's Jarred Laws and Desmond Johnson hug as the Thunderbirds celebrate the victory. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Service's Marques Robinson works around defense from East's Desmond Johnson. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News East's Desmond Johnson lays the ball up. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News The East bench hope for a three-point basket. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Service's Adam Klie tries to make a move down low. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Service fans get loud. East defeated Service to claim the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Service's Marques Robinson tries to pull the ball from East's Matthew Hardwick. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
East's Jarred Laws takes a shot over Service's Kylelle Brown. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
East's Eudy Gomez tries to save a ball from going out of bounds. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Service's Marques Robinson looks at the hoop under defense from East's Travon Brackett and Matthew Hardwick. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Service's Adam Klie takes a shot over Easts Eudy Gomez, but an offensive foul was called on the play. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Service's Marques Robinson heads to the hoop as East's Travon Brackett defends. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Service's Marques Robinson, left, and East's Xavier Johnson race for the ball. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
East's Jarred Laws tips a pass out of the air from Service's Haney Jacobo. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
East's Jarred Laws, center, reaches for a rebound. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
East's Jarred Laws, Service's Reece Robinson and East's Traveon Brackett dive after a ball. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Service's Ihro Raguindin passes the ball out of defense from East's Matthew Hardwick and Eudy Gomez. Service played East for the boys 4A state championship title on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Frank Ostanik, head coach of the Monroe Rams, leaps into the arms of his players as as victory is assured with seconds remaining over Anchorage Christian, in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Monroe defeated ACS 60-52.
Bob Hallinen
Scooter Bynum, of the Monroe Catholic Rams, is tripped up by Jalen Terry, of Anchorage Christian, in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Monroe defeated ACS 60-52.
Bob Hallinen
Michael Hale,of the Monroe Rams, goes up to defend as Jalen Terry, of Anchorage Christian, goes for the basket in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Monroe defeated ACS 60-52.
Bob Hallinen
Jalen Terry, of Anchorage Christian, David Stepovich, of Monroe Catholic, Christian Nickerson, of Monroe Catholic, and Christano Lopez, of ACS, look for the rebound in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Monroe defeated ACS 60-52.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
The Monroe Catholic Rams defeated the Anchorage Christian Lions 60-52 in the boys 3A Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013.
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Barrow Whalers fan Donald Adams is happy after the Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Stephanie Nelson and Hilary Lowery, of the Barrow Whalers, race to the bench to celebrate with teammates as the defeat Anchorage Christian 69-59 to win the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Defender Lynette Hepa, of the Barrow Whalers, towers over Michelle Coderre, of Anchorage Christian, as she looks for the basket in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The Barrow Whalers defeated Anchorage Christian in the 3A girls Alaska State Championship basketball game at the Sullivan Arena on Saturday, March 23, 21013. Barrow defeated ACS 69-59. 130323
Bob Hallinen
The Warriors celebrate their title. Wasilla beat Dimond to claim the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Wasilla's Alysha Devine hugs a teammate after the game. Wasilla beat Dimond to claim the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
The Warriors greet their fans after the championship win. Wasilla beat Dimond to claim the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Wasilla's Alexis Imoe looks to inbound the ball. Alysha Devine is guarded by Dimond's Tara Thompson and Rohyn Huss. Wasilla beat Dimond to claim the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Wasilla's Amanda Hutchins keeps the ball from Dimond's Sierra Afoa. Wasilla beat Dimond to claim the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
The Warriors celebrate their title. Wasilla beat Dimond to claim the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Wasilla's Kayla Dinkle, bottom, and Alysha Devine dive for a loose ball. Wasilla beat Dimond to claim the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Wasilla fans cheer for their team before tipoff. Dimond faced Wasilla for the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Dimond's Sierra Afoa and Wasilla's Alysha Devine reach for the ball in the first half. Dimond faced Wasilla for the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Dimond's Tara Thompson looks for a pass as Wasilla's Jenna Ford defends. Dimond faced Wasilla for the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Dimond's Karenna Liggon steals the ball from Wasilla's Alexis Imoe. Dimond faced Wasilla for the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester
Dimond's Sierra Afoa, center, holds the ball from Wasilla's Savannah Burke, left, and Machia Towes. Dimond faced Wasilla for the girls 4A state basketball championship on Saturday, March 23, 2013.
Marc Lester

During an on-court awards presentation late Saturday night, East High basketball coach Josh Muehlenkamp walked before the chairs where his giddy players were assembled, pulled up his polo shirt and revealed the motivational logo written on the T-shirt underneath:

WE ARE ONE

AGAINST ALL ODDS

The Thunderbirds whooped and hollered, and deservedly so.

Granted, their horrific first half stacked those odds against them, but their heavenly second half delivered redemption that earned East a 66-59 victory over Service and its first Class 4A boys state title since 2000.

The T-birds trailed by 11 at halftime and by 15 before the third quarter was halfway over. They routinely jacked up ill-advised shots in the first half, missed open shots and found themselves exploited in transition by the Cougars, their fellow Cook Inlet Conference member.

“Ooh, we were rough,’’ conceded East sophomore guard Desmond Johnson. “First half, we were terrible.’’

And yet somehow East flipped a switch.

Trailing 43-29 in the third quarter, the T-birds engineered a startling 17-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters. That rally furnished a 46-43 lead.

“We played a horrible first half,’’ Muehlenkamp said. “But we were only down 11. The kids believe in themselves.

“Service does a great job of getting transition baskets and they were beating us with that in the first half. When we went to half-court (defense) instead of full-court, we started playing better.’’

East outscored Service 47-29 in the second half. The T-birds out-rebounded the Cougars 26-11 in those 16 mintues, including 11-6 on the offensive glass. The T-birds shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and made 12 of 13 free throws.

Desmond Johnson scored all of his 13 points in the second half. Xavier Johnson scored 11 of his 16. Matthew Hardwick contributed all nine of his points and five rebounds, including four on the offensive boards. And Jarred Laws scored 12 of his game-high 21.

“I don’t know how we did it,’’ said Desmond Johnson, who then paused. “Actually, I do — work. Toward the end of the third quarter, I felt it turning.’’

Desmond Johnson is a demonstrative sort. He plays with energy and an attitude tinted with charm — time and again in the fourth quarter, once between his free throws — and he hit all five of those — Johnson swept his hands up to encourage the crowd.

“I hate to coach him some days,’’ Muehlenkamp said with a grin. “But he’s tough as nails, and he has that inner belief, and that makes him special.’’

Service used a 10-0 run to open the second quarter to seize a 22-11 advantage, and the Cougars owned a 30-19 lead at halftime.

Marques Robinson led Service with 19 points, Adam Klie added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds before fouling out late, and Amu Aukusitino had 11 points.

This was a Service team that beat East in two of three meetings this season, including a 70-45 torch job in the conference tournament.

At state, where the Cougars were seeking their first crown since 1991, they keep coming close tantalizingly close. They were runners-up for the second straight season — they lost in overtime to Dimond in last year’s final — after finished third two years ago.

Come crunch time Saturday night, it was the T-birds who flourished.

“We realized, for all us seniors, we wanted to make a mark on East basketball,’’ Laws said. “This is the greatest feeling.

“This speaks to the character of our team. We keep fighting. We just keep fighting.’’

Usually, that’s what it takes to beat the odds.

 

Find Doyle Woody’s blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.

 

 

 

 

Colony 50, West 40

Colony bounced back from a heartbreaking semifinal loss to East to claim third place Saturday.

The Knights beat West 50-40 behind 20 points form Hunter Eisenhower. Joe Gray pitched in 11 points and Antonio Bush collected 12 rebounds.

Theo Oghide scored 12 points and Markiss Ailey 10 to lead West.

 

Lathrop 48, Palmer 41

Tremon Washington poured in 20 points and Kyle Carlson and Gabriel Cunningham combined for 21 to lead Lathrop past Palmer 48-41 in the fourth-place game.

Palmer got a boost from Brian Selmer's 11 points and eight rebounds and Connor Looney's 10 points and seven rebounds.

 

An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified East High basketball coach as Joel Muehlenkamp instead of Josh Muehlenkamp.

 


By DOYLE WOODY
dwoody@adn.com