West ends Eagle River's tournament
After earning the first Cook Inlet Conference tournament win in program history, Eagle River High’s boys basketball team ended its season with a 65-60 loss to West in the third-place game Saturday, March 9.
The Wolves’ poor free-throw shooting — they went 17-of-33 — was the difference, senior Eric Roberts said.
“Free throws were big,” he said. “We missed 16 of them.”
Tournament-host West shot 72 percent from the line and made 7-of-10 in the final two minutes.
One thing the Wolves didn’t lack was effort, Roberts said.
“We played hard,” he said. “We had energy.”
Eagle River’s Shaquan Rhoades nailed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to make it a one-possession game, but Christian Nidoy sank two free throws to seal the victory for West.
Rhoades and Roberts, who were both named to the All-Tournament team, pumped in 21 points apiece to lead all scorers. Deandre Wilson (13 points), Dazhn Wyche (11) and Nidoy (10) paced the Eagles, who had nine different scorers.
A 3-point buzzer-beater by Nicholas Montgomery helped Eagle River cut a 10-point halftime deficit to three after the third quarter.
But the up-and-down style of play led to the loss, Rhoades said.
“It was like a rollercoaster,” he said.
Sixth-seeded Eagle River upset No. 3 Dimond 62-52 in the first round March 6. Rhoades scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Wolves. Roberts added 13 points and eight boards.
Two days later, No. 2 East cruised to a 70-41 win over the Wolves in the semifinals. Top-ranked Service rolled to a 70-45 victory over the T-Birds in the championship Saturday, March 9.
Eagle River will lose more than half its varsity roster when seven seniors graduate — Montgomery, Rhoades, Roberts, Michael Mothersell, Josh Oberlander, Hunter Hill and Andre White.
With head coach Fred Young running the program, the Wolves should be just fine next season despite the loss, Hill said.
“Coach Fred is a good coach,” he said. “He’ll make it work.”
Hill said he’ll miss practicing with his teammates every day.
“Once we go back to school, it won’t be the same,” he said.
Roberts, a transfer student from Wasilla, said his one and only year in a Wolves uniform was enjoyable.
“It was a good season,” he said. “I love this team.”
“I had a wonderful season,” he said. “Our fans, our coaches, our teammates. It was a family atmosphere.”
CIC All-Tournament Team:
Adam Klie (MVP), Service; I.K. Oghide, West; Shaquan Rhoades, ER; Marques Robinson, Service; Desmond Johnson, East; Deandre Wilson, West; Eric Roberts, ER; Ihro Raguindin, Service; Austin Huss, East; C.J. Toomer, Service; Jarred Laws, East.