Dimond girls, Service boys easily win CIC tourney games

Mike Nesper
Kenny Peques of Chugiak, center, has his shot defended by Nahshon Fromm, left, and Reece Robinson of Service during Cook Inlet Conference tournament action on Tuesday evening, March 4, 2014, at West.
Erik Hill
Ihro Raguindin of Service, center, draws a foul going to the basket against Kenny Pegues, left, and Jared Pearson of Chugiak during first-half action at the Cook Inlet Conference basketball tournament on Tuesday evening, March 4, 2014, at West. Service won 66-36, ending the season for Chugiak.
Erik Hill
Pindo Drammeh of Service, left, goes up for a shot against Chugiak during Cook Inlet Conference tournament action on Tuesday evening, March 4, 2014, at West.
Erik Hill

There were no surprises Tuesday at the Cook Inlet Conference basketball tournament as both No. 2 seeds won easily over their seventh-ranked opponents at West High.

Dimond's girls led the entire game and knocked off Eagle River 56-14 while the Service boys used a 21-point third quarter to roll past Chugiak 66-36.

Service will take on the winner of East-Eagle River -- they meet Wednesday -- in one of four semifinal games Friday. The Cougars swept both opponents in conference play this season.

The other boys semifinal will feature top-seeded West against Thursday's Bartlett-Dimond winner.

One the Eagles' two conference losses came against the Lynx this season -- East getting the other win.

The Cougars' game plan will depend on who they meet in the semis, head coach Tyler Moor said.

"It's hard to prepare right now," he said.

With a conference full of parity, Moor said his team will have to wait to see who that is.

The girls semifinals will include Dimond against the winner of East-Bartlett -- who play Wednesday. The Lynx swept Bartlett and split with East in conference play this season.

The other girls semifinal will feature undefeated West and the winner of Chugiak-South. The Mustangs and Wolverines meet Thursday.

No matter who they play, defense and rebounding are keys for success, Dimond guard Tara Thompson said.

"We're not the biggest team. We have to box out," she said.

Dimond shined in both areas Tuesday. The Lynx held Eagle River to five total field goals and hauled in 28 more rebounds. More than half of Dimond's points came off turnovers.

Dimond jumped out to an early 19-point lead thanks in part to three first-quarter treys by Thompson. The Lynx increased their lead to 29 points by halftime.

A fast start helps Dimond carry momentum throughout the entire game, Lynx forward Justine Anderson said.

"We try and get on the gun pretty quick," she said. "It just sets the tone for the rest of the game."

Anderson and Rohyn Huss led the Lynx with double-doubles -- they each scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Thompson (15 points) and Dejha Canty (11) also reached double figures for Dimond.

Lauren Frost's five points paced the Wolves.

Inexperience and lack of manpower has led to second-half letdowns all season for Eagle River, head coach Princella Jones said. Underclassmen accounted for 11 of 13 on the Wolves' roster, she said, which hampered their ability to play a full 32 minutes.

The young Eagle River squad gained valuable experience this season, Jones said. And they're only graduating one senior, Samantha Coy.

"We've got a lot to look forward to," Jones said.

Service outscored Chugiak 21-4 to start the second half and put the game out of reach.

"It was a good third quarter for us," Moor said.

The biggest adjustment from the first half -- where Service gained an eight-point lead -- was getting the ball down low for easy buckets, Moor said.

Ihro Raguindin scored a game-high 23 points for the Cougars. Pindo Drammeh added 17 points and nine rebounds for Service.

Matt Oldenkamp paced Chugiak with 10 points.

Shooting percentage was the difference, Mustangs' head coach Kevin Spink said. The Cougars were 51 percent from the field while Chugiak made less than 29 percent of its field goals.

"We needed them to have a cold night and for us to have a hot night," Spink said.

Chugiak's senior-laden squad was full of mature, unselfish players, Spink said, making them a "dream team" to coach.

The Mustangs are graduating seven seniors, including Oldenkamp, Kenny Pegues, Ty Spoo, Ryan Mark, Jake Brownlee, Zion Burgess and Austin Martin.

Reach Mike Nesper at mnesper@adn.com or 257-4335.