If you love basketball the Alaska Airlines Classic began its 3-day tournament at 12:15pm Thursday afternoon in the West Anchorage gym. West staff and student body along with onlookers packed the gym to watch the West Eagles take on the visiting Northwood Falcons from Shreveport, LA.
The Falcons led by 17 points at the half (37 -20). The Eagles then responded by placing their defensive talons in the game with 1:22 left in the third quarter with junior forward Joe Riley (14 pts, 8 rbs) leading the way. The Eagle's energy and full court pressure defense left the Falcons feathers ruffled. In the fourth quarter the Eagles managed to get the deficit to 8 points before free-throws led by Falcons junior guard Martavious Washington (18 pts, 4 rbs, 3 ast), senior center Terrance Walker (13 pts, 6 rbs), and senior guard Angelo Robert (11 pts, 3 rbs, 5 ast) took control for a 61-52 win to advance.
The second game featured two Alaskan teams going head to head. APC ranked #2 Dimond Lynx and returning State Champions took on Thunder Mountain. The game was a slow half court offensive game
that seemed to have stunned Dimond as if they were looking in a mirror and saw an offensive and
defensive scheme similar to their own. In basketball it is said you're the truth if you cannot be stopped.
The truth is Thunder Mountain's center Sam Jahn with a double/double contributing 23 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 10-13 from the field. The Thunder's senior guard Vili Tupou had 1 point but 7 assists and controlled game tempo under Dimonds effective full court pressure. The Thunder advanced past Dimond (48-35) who was led by senior guard Damon Cikanek (17 pts, 3 ast).
The game of the night was State Runner-up, and APC 1st place Service Cougars versus Hoover Buccaneers. Hoover is touted as the 3rd ranked school in Alabama. In the first quarter, senior guard Adam Klie (24 pts, 10 rbs) was the only player to score for the trailing Cougars for the final 7.12 minutes of the first quarter (13-21). Halftime ended with Klie having a double/double 10 points and 10 rebounds with the Cougars trailing by two points (31-33). The third quarter is when the Buccaneers showed their hunting skills for Cougar hide by outscoring the Cougars 29-17; the first double digit point total of all four quarters (48-62). In the fourth quarter, Service teammate and senior forward Marques Robinson (25 pts, 8 rbs) exploded for 17 points, 7 rebounds. The added assistance of senior guard Amu Aukusitino ( 15 pts) helped close the 13 point deficit they faced in the fourth quarter.
With 1:33 left on the clock Robinson hits one of two free-throws for a 76-80 score. With full court pressure Service is forced to foul and senior guard Devon Earl sinks two for two (76-82) with 1:18 left. The Buccaneers then steal the inbound pass but foul with 1:10 left. Robinson hits 2 more free-throws (76-84) and the Cougars call a timeout. Unfortunately time ran out for the Cougars and the Buccaneers advance (88-85). Coach Charles Burkett along with players Hardy and Defore all state this team scores by committee. The Buccaneers pride themselves on scoring by who is hot, and the proof is in the four players with double digits by beating the cougars in total assists 22/9. Leading the way was junior guard Q. Hardy (19 pts, shooting 4-8, 50% from the 3); senior guard Michael Wiesneth (18 pts, 7 ast); senior forward Brannon Defore (15 pts, 6 rbs, 4 ast); and sophomore guard Leonard Wood (10 pts, 5 rbs).