Unalakleet holds off Unalaska for 3rd at state
ANCHORAGE - What's the difference between third place and fifth place at the ASAA Class 2A State Basketball Championships? For the Unalaska Raiders, the answer was approximately 2 inches.
Playing in front of a large — and loud — crowd at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex, the Raiders watched a pair of last-second three-point attempts bounce off the front of the rim on Saturday en route to dropping a tough 65-62 decision to rival Unalakleet in the third-place game of the 2017 state tournament.
Despite the last-second misses, the Raiders turned in a solid outing at the tournament, which began Thursday. Unalaska went 1-2 in the four-day event and finished fifth overall, marking the third straight year the Raiders had finished among the state's elite.
Unalakleet's come-from-behind win didn't come easy. Unalaska led almost the entire game until a running layup with 1:57 left in regulation gave Unalakleet a 56-54 lead — its first advantage since late in the second quarter.
After Unalakleet had stretched its lead to 62-56, Matthew Faoasau brought Unalaska roaring back. The 6-foot-3 junior turned in a quick 4-point effort with just over a minute left to cut Unalakleet's lead to two, at 62-60.
Faoasau ignited the Unalaska run simply enough. He took a pass inside the paint and drew a foul that sent Unalakleet's Jayden Wilson to the bench with his fifth. Faoasau hit the front end of his two free throw attempts. On the second, he managed to pull down the rebound and toss up a short jumper that went in.
After Unalakleet's Ian Ticket had hit a shot to build the Wolfpack's lead to four again, Carter Price breathed new hope into the Raiders by drawing a foul and converting both free throw attempts. His work from the charity stripe pulled Unalaska to within 64-62 with 20 seconds left.
Following a quick foul that led to a Unalakleet free throw, the Raiders set themselves up to force overtime on their final possession. Three-point attempts from Price and Trevor Wilson both clanked off the rim, however.
As a team, Unalakleet managed to hold off Unalaska's fourth-quarter heroics by pushing in 29 points in the final eight minutes. The Wolfpack had entered the final frame trailing by a 39-34 clip.
Despite the loss, the Raiders picked up outstanding performances from four players, including Faoasau, who notched a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards. Kevin Ho added 18 points, while Wilson and Price both tallied nine.
Unalaska tipped off the tournament in memorable fashion on Thursday by turning a quick start into a 62-56 victory over rival Bristol Bay. The Raiders outscored the Angels by a 15-2 margin in the first eight minutes and then held on to notch the victory.
In the win over Bristol Bay, Carey Boston and Faoasau both turned outstanding efforts. Boston tossed in a team-high 19 points, while Faoasau posted 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Peter Geffee led a trio of Bristol Bay scorers reaching double figures in the contest by going for 16 points. Austin King and Kaleb Hill added 13 and 10, respectively.
The Raiders fell into the third-place matchup following a 50-43 setback to Metlakatla in the semifinals on Friday.
Wilson highlighted the action for Unalaska. The 6-foot sophomore tossed in six three-pointers in the contest and finished with a game-high 22 points.
With its 1-2 mark at the state tournament, Unalaska finished its season at 16-3.
Following its first-round loss to Unalaska, Bristol Bay dropped into a consolation showdown with Glennallen on Friday. Despite 15 points from Joel Kern, the Angels suffered a 61-38 setback.
Gaffe also hit double figures in the contest by notching 13.