Rookies' rally falls short against Buckland
ANCHORAGE - Elaina Mack and the King Cove High School Rookies didn't run out of points on Saturday in their third-place showdown with the Buckland Lady Sissauni. They just ran out of time.
Despite scoring the final seven points of the game, the King Cove girls dropped a 53-52 decision to Buckland in their final game at the 2017 ASAA Class 1A State Basketball Championships. Overall, the Rookies went 2-2 in the four-day tournament and finished fifth in the final standings.
But if there had been a few extra seconds ...
After watching Buckland use a fourth-quarter run to open up an 8-point lead, at 53-45, with 2:44 remaining in regulation, Mack and Jalaya Duarte put the KC offense on their shoulders — and set the stage for a dramatic finish.
Just seconds after a Kylah Melton had put Buckland up by eight with a layup, Mack dribbled down the court and buried a three-point shot from the corner. After a quick turnover, the Rookies went looking for Mach again — this time finding her open for a jumper from the wing that cut Buckland's lead to three, at 53-50, with 1:04 to play.
Duarte continued the KC run moments later by driving in for a layup and bringing the Rookies to within one.
With time running out, King Cove almost snatched the victory. With 6 seconds left in regulation, the Rookies managed to intercept a Buckland pass near midcourt. Unfortunately for King Cove, Melton managed to steal the ball back seconds later and prevented a potential game-winning shot.
Despite the loss, Duarte and Mack both turned in memorable efforts as each registered double-doubles. Duarte tossed in 15 points and had 11 rebounds. Mack tallied 13 points and 10 boards.
McKenna Gould narrowly missed posting the Rookies' third double-double performance. She finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Nita Thomas led Buckland with 21 points, 15 of which came via five three-pointers.
King Cove, sparked by a double-double performance from Duarte, tipped off its state appearance in grand fashion on Wednesday by grinding out a 70-39 victory over Newton in the play-in round.
In the win, Duarte scored 20 points and collected 18 rebounds.
Gould and Mack also played well in the victory, scoring 14 and 11, respectively.
Sparked by their dominating win over Newton, the Rookies rolled into the quarterfinals to face Nikolaevsk. King Cove rode a 20-6 run in the first eight minutes to a resounding 67-41 decision.
Mack and Gould led the way for KC by scoring 20 points each.
The Rookies' bid for a trip to the state finals came to an end in the semifinals with a narrow 44-42 loss to Selawik. King Cove watched on as a late run by Selawik erased a 35-33 third-quarter lead.
Despite the loss, Duarte posted her third double-double of the tournament by finishing with 12 points and 12 boards.
Mack and Emmaly Brandell also hit double digits, netting 18 and 10.