Despite suffering back-to-back losses to East in January and a playing a shaky first half in Thursday's showdown, the Dimond boys basketball team knew it could beat the T-birds.
The Lynx came back from a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat East 63-58 with clutch free-throw shooting and key defensive stops down the stretch in a pivotal Cook Inlet Conference game at Dimond between the conference's two heavyweights.
The win catapulted Dimond into a tie for first place with East, which took this season's first two games against Dimond by a combined 19 points, including a 15-point victory in the Dimond Prep Shootout championship.
"We just felt like we didn't play very good defense against them (before)," Dimond coach Brad Lauwers said. "We were determined they weren't going to score 70 points like they do against most teams."
East led for the entirety of the first half, in part due to a plus-9 rebounding margin, and went into the locker room leading 30-23.
In the second half, Dimond chipped away the lead.
The Lynx started the second half with a 13-4 run and took their first lead on a Kylan Osborne 3-pointer that made it 36-34.
Osborne and fellow senior Eric Jenkins combined for nine points in that run, and both came through in crunch time too.
In the fourth quarter, Dimond led 56-51 with less than two minutes remaining when the Lynx again turned to Osborne and Jenkins. The pair went a combined 9 of 10 from the free-throw line in that span to seal the win.
Jenkins finished with 23 points and Osborne, the son of UAA men's basketball coach Rusty Osborne, tallied 18.
"It's all free throws," Kylan Osborne said. "We made them at the end. We started out rough — that's kinda why they took the lead — but we hit them down the stretch like we needed to.
"We've always been talking about making free throws and we got some big stops (too)."
East was led by Trey Huckabay's 16 points. Moses Miller and Carson Washburn each added nine.
With 18 seconds remaining and Dimond leading 61-58, Washburn tipped a long inbounds pass to a teammate to keep the T-birds in contention, but East's Disques Esaw was charged with an offensive foul on a layup attempt.
Osborne nailed his final two free throws on the other end with 11 seconds to go for the game's final points.
There are no extra points for style, but Osborne and fellow Dimond guard Anthony Parker put together the game's highlight sequence in the first half.
Osborne received a cross-court pass and crossed over an East defender for a layup. Then, Parker flew in on East's ensuing inbounds pass for a steal and a dunk that got the Dimond fans on their feet.
With the regular season winding down, Dimond and East are tied atop the conference standings at 8-1. East's tournament win over the Lynx wasn't a conference standings.
"This is a big win," Osborne said. "It's big, 'cause now we're tied for first in the conference and we just gotta win out (and) take care of business."
Chugiak 59, Service 48
Chugiak limited Service to two points in the first quarter en route to a 59-48 triumph over the Cougars in a CIC game Thursday at Chugiak High.
The Mustangs held Service's high-scoring Nathan Fromm, who fouled out early, to 10 points.
Tyler Trevino scored a game-high 13 points and snared four steals to lead Chugiak, which used pressure defense to force Service into numerous turnovers. Zach Hauger added 12 points.
Dominik Norman topped Service with 11 points.
Bartlett 54, Eagle River 35
Sebastian Brown fueled a big third quarter for Bartlett in a 54-35 win over Eagle River in a CIC game Thursday at Bartlett.
Brown scored six of his game-high 13 points in the third quarter to help the Golden Bears outscore Eagle River 14-2. That turned a slim 30-23 halftime lead into a big 44-25 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Latravious Kingsland added 12 points and Latjor Bayath contributed 10 for Bartlett.
Ryan Adkins led Eagle River with 11 points.
West 63, South 56
Justin Tovio's 14 points, six rebounds and six assists powered West's 63-56 victory over South in a CIC game Thursday at West.
Joey Barranco also tossed in 14 points for the Eagles.
Lian Lincoln of South was the game's top scorer with 18 points.