A run to rememeber
After suffering a first-round loss, Birchwood Christian School won back-to-back games to earn a spot in the consolation finals of the boys Class 1A state basketball tournament.
The Warriors played Yakutat on Wednesday, March 20, but a score was not available when the Star went to press. Check www.alaskastar.com for updates.
BCS opened the tournament with a 55-49 loss to Noatak on Saturday, March 16. The Warriors’ five-point halftime lead disappeared after the Lynx outscored Birchwood 19-7 in the third quarter.
Noatak’s balanced offensive attack of perimeter shooting and a strong inside game was difficult to defend, Warriors’ head coach Robert Vickers said.
“They had five shooters on the floor at all times,” he said.
Mike Rud scored a game-high 24 points to lead BCS. Caleb Duplessis added 10 for the Warriors. Anthony Ashby (21 points) and Ralph Stalker Jr. (16) paced the Lynx.
Chris Manning’s game-high 13 rebounds led Birchwood Christian, which grabbed 12 more rebounds than Noatak. But the Warriors committed seven more turnovers than the Lynx, who racked up 12 steals.
Though disappointed BCS fell into the consolation bracket, Vickers praised his team’s effort.
“Nobody ever quit,” he said. “Nobody got down.”
Birchwood kept its season alive with a 65-56 win over Russian Mission on Monday, March 18.
Manning’s double-double (14 rebounds, 13 points) was the difference, BCS assistant coach Brad Rud said.
“That’s a game changer,” he said.
Mike Rud pumped in a game-high 26 points to lead the Warriors, who had four scorers in double digits. Duplessis and Tyler Keiffer added 10 apiece for BCS.
Aaron Minock (24 points) and Steven Pitka (16) led Russian Mission.
Birchwood entered the game motivated to extend its season, Manning said.
“We just want to keep going,” he said.
That attitude was evident Tuesday, March 19 when BCS cruised to a 55-42 win over Minto. Holding a two-point lead, the Warriors outscored Minto 30-19 in the final two quarters to earn a spot in the consolation finals.
“It’s more than a sense of pride,” Vickers said. “They want to go out the way they started the season.”
Mike Rud and Duplessis scored 19 points each to lead the Warriors. Christian Baker (13 points) and Tahj Washington (12) paced the Lakers.
Holding Baker — who drained three 3-pointers in the first half — to just four second-half points keyed the victory, Vickers said.
“The guys executed our game plan,” he said.
Playing on the tournament’s final day has been the Warriors’ goal since losing in the first round, Vickers said.
Having played every game at West High, on Wednesday the Warriors finally returned to Sullivan Arena against a familiar opponent. The last time BCS set foot on the floor of the Sully was more than a year ago when it defeated Yakutat in the Class 2A third-place game.
There’s not a more appropriate venue for Birchwood’s four seniors — Mike Rud, David Rud, Manning and Duplessis — to end their high school careers, Vickers said.
“I’m so glad we get to usher them out that way,” he said.