Eagle River boys lose heartbreaker to West
The Eagle River boys’ basketball season ended with a heartbreaking 61-60 loss to Cook Inlet Conference tournament host West High in the opening round March 1.
Fourth-ranked West went on to lose to No. 2 Service 71-50 in the third-place game March 3.
The fifth-ranked Wolves had a chance to beat the Eagles after West’s Christian Nidoy missed both double bonus free throws in the waning seconds of the game. After Nidoy’s second miss with 6.6 seconds, Eagle River’s Chris Parker took an outlet pass and rushed toward the basket.
As he went up for a layup, Parker — and the rest of Eagle River — thought he was fouled. No call was made and Parker’s attempt was no good as time expired.
The loss was disappointing, Paker said.
“We really wanted that win,” he said.
Though Parker was upset a foul wasn’t called, he said Eagle River shouldn’t have let the game go down to the wire.
“We should have played harder,” he said.
First-year head coach Fred Young said nerves got the better of his team early on.
“We started the game flat,” he said.
Young said Eagle River refused to quit even when falling behind by as many as 11 points.
“We could have rolled over and died, but we didn’t,” he said. “I’m proud of the guys.”
Parker and junior Shaquan Rhoades paced Eagle River with 14 points each. Kevin Waterman (11 points) also reached double digits for the Wolves.
Parker and Rhoades were a major reason for Eagle River’s vast improvement from last year’s two-win season, senior Kelechi Madubuko said.
“Chris and [Shaquan] really helped the team out,” he said.
Madubuko said Parker and Rhoades were among the best teammates he’s played with during his four years on the team.
“I’m gonna miss playing with them,” he said.
The Wolves’ 6-8 conference record proved the team could play with the rest of the CIC, Madubuko said.
“No one thought Eagle River would make any noise in this conference,” he said.
The team couldn’t have done it without Young, Madubuko said.
“He really believed in us,” Madubuko said. “He kept saying, ‘You’re gonna get it, you’re gonna get it.’”
Young said the CIC can expect the Wolves to build off of their success from this year.
“Everyone will know Eagle River will come ready to play,” he said.
Despite the loss of seniors Madubuko, Parker, Waterman and Patrick Prior, Young said next year’s team should be solid thanks to its returners and incoming talent from the JV squad.
“The future looks bright,” he said.