Basketball Jones, and more
What a nail-biting, foot-stomping, jumping-up-in-the-air-and-screaming time was had at the Cook Inlet Conference Regional Basketball Games at West High School last week.
Especially the Eagle River boys, who surprised the crowd of East High School fan that arrived on an activity bus March 5 expecting an easy win.
The T-Birds, ranked in the number three slot, were the hands-down favorites.
No one seemed to have mentioned that to the Wolves, though. Or maybe they didn’t care about rank or win-lose records. Maybe they cared more about playing the game, about going out hard and fast, about never letting up, even when the T-Birds turned it on in the second half and narrowed it down, the T-Birds pounding out basket after basket as the Wolves watched their lead fall from 15 points to nine, and they began to play sloppy, too, shooting haphazardly, missing rebounds, committing careless fouls.
And then East netted a couple of free throws and tied it up 61-61, with less than a minute left on the clock.
It looked like the game might go into overtime.
Until Thomas Jones got his hands on the ball and netted one in with five seconds left on the clock.
The Eagle River fans went crazy, and six-seeded Eagle River pulled it out over third-seeded East.
Daniel Dirscherl was high scorer with 16 points, followed by Collin Metzel with 15 and Alani Collins with 12.
High pointers for the T-Birds included Desmond Johnson at 20 and Haney Jacobo with 18.
Eagle River went on to lose in the second game to Service 59-38 and grab third-place from Dimond with a 50-48 win, and once again, Thomas Jones sank the winning basket with mere seconds left in the game.
Eagle River girls
The Lady Wolves put up a valiant fight but the Lady Lynx’s defense was too much for them and they lost to second-seeded Dimond 56-14. Lauren Frost was high scorer for the Wolves with 5, followed by Samantha Coy with 3. Tara Thompson netted 15 for Dimond, and Rohyn Huss, Dejha Canty and Justine Anderson all sank 11.
The seventh-seeded Mustangs were pitted against the second-seeded Service Cougars in a fast-paced and physical game that included a lot of shoves and scuffles. The Mustangs were down by eight at halftime but the Cougars came alive in the third-period and soon extended their lead to 12 points, thanks to Cougar center Pindo Drammeh, whose height, along with his rebounding skills, prevented the Mustangs from getting close to the basket. The Cougars pulled further ahead, winning with a 30-point spread of 66-36.
Matt Oldenkamp was the only Mustang hitting double-digits with 10; Kade Randall, Zion Burgess and Kenny Pegues each snagged six points.
Over on the Cougar side, Ihro Raguindin bagged 23 points and Pindo Drammeh scored 17.
The Lady Mustangs played a gutsy game that was fast-paced and fierce, dominating the first two periods and pulling to a 21-16 lead by halftime.
But minutes into the third period, the Lady Wolverines had slid ahead by one.
Kudos go out to Mustang Hailee Hodgsen, who was all over the Wolverines’ offense.
But it wasn’t enough. South’s strong defense, coupled with too many missed Mustang shots, allowed the Wolverines to lengthen their lead.
Chugiak rallied with a couple of free throws points and pulled within one basket with just over two minutes on the clock.
A foul against the Mustangs, however, gave South the chance, and momentum, they needed. South’s Sadie Hodgson sank two free baskets and South went on to win 57-48.
Randi McMullen netted 11 points for the Mustangs, with Nicole Pinckney close behind with 10.
South’s Taylor Murray shot 21 points and Sadie Hodgson sank 11.