Amid a defensive Cook Inlet Conference boys basketball battle Tuesday came an offensive play for the ages.
Service's Nathan Fromm stole the ball and soared over 6-foot-5 Eric Jenkins — Dimond's tallest player — for the posterizing dunk, drawing a foul in the process. Fromm nailed the free throw to complete the traditional three-point play late in the third quarter.
The dunk gave the Cougars momentum, and they went on to beat the Lynx 45-37 at Dimond.
"It was a big momentum dunk — it was a highlight dunk," Service coach Tyler Moor said. "The kid is incredibly athletic. You don't see athleticism like that at the high school level very often."
Fromm finished with a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds and Alex Welch added 11 points to help the Cougars (10-7, 3-5 CIC) beat Dimond for the first time in three tries this season.
Combined with league-leading East's win over West, the loss dropped the Lynx into a second-place tie in the CIC with West.
Leading the Lynx (14-2, 6-2) was Anthony Parker, who scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. He went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, but with no other Dimond player scoring in the final six minutes, the Lynx couldn't close the gap on Service.
"It just felt like we missed a lot around the basket and they really finished around the basket," Dimond coach Brad Lauwers said. "It felt like if we'd got a shot to drop there in the fourth quarter, we could've made a game of it, but they played well."
The game started slow for both teams. The first field goal didn't come until four minutes into the game on a shot by Dimond's Josh Fosi. At the end of the first quarter, Service led 11-7.
Dimond played its best in the second quarter when six players contributed points. A putback by Parker gave the Lynx a 18-17 halftime edge.
The second half was all Service. The Lynx didn't score for the final five minutes of the third quarter, which ended with two big plays from Fromm.
Fromm's dynamite dunk left the crowd agape with 39 seconds left, and then the 6-foot-4 junior provided more drama, blocking a shot as the clock ran out.
"That's the third time we played them and that's probably the best they've played against us and that's the worst we've played against them," Lauwers said.
Going into the game, Dimond was tied with East for the CIC lead at 7-1 and Service sat near the bottom of the conference at 2-5 — an indication of the CIC's parity this season.
"The thing this year, there's so much parity not only in the conference but throughout the whole state," Moor said. "I think there's 10, 12 teams in the state that have a chance to win it all.
"It makes it exciting. I think it's exciting for Alaska basketball."
East 91, West 71
East defeated West 91-71 on the Eagles' home court Tuesday in a game between two of the CIC's top teams.
West led early during an intense first quarter bur East found its rhythm to grab a 23-22 lead by the end of the quarter.
The T-birds pulled away after that, outscoring West 22-13 in the second quarter and 25-16 in the fourth quarter.
Daon Jones led a group of four double-figure scorers for East with 16 points. Moses Miller added 15, Alec Canete-Hall chipped in 14 and Marquis White had 12.
"Sharing the ball, having great ball movement and being patient on the offensive end — when we work like that, we know we're hard to beat because everyone's working," East coach Jason Jno-Lewis said.
West's Da'Zhon Wyche put up 24 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and four steals but it wasn't enough to stop the T-birds.
"Da'Zhon was the hardest challenge," Jno-Lewis said. "We knew he'd keep fighting and he did throughout the entire game."
Bartlett 80, Eagle River 39
Bartlett pounced on Eagle River 80-39 behind a balanced scoring attack that put five players in double figures Tuesday night at Bartlett.
Bartlett's Anthony Camacho led all scorers with 13 points in the CIC game. Joining him in double figures were teammates Malcolm Dunbar (12 points), Sebastian Brown (11), Latraviaus Kingsland (10) and Bumatet Duop (10).
Eagle River got a boost from Savion Wilson, who scored 11 points, and Aaron Davis, who grabbed 12 rebounds.
West High journalism student Jazzel Bartolome contributed to this report.