FAIRBANKS-There was a lot of clamoring for this game but it was showtime last night at Joe T Court and this game would not disappoint.
Lathrop started off with a 9-2 run. Kyle Carlson hit a three, the first made field goal of the game for either team, then the Malemutes got in transition. Gabriel Howard got a steal and led a three-on-one fastbreak where Tyreke Jennis finished with driving layup. Lathrop led 16-13 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter Deandre Wilson, of West, took over with a solo 9-0 run. He got hot from long range hitting three straight three pointers. He gave the Eagles their first lead of the game at the 3:43 mark of the second quarter. West took a 35-33 lead into halftime.
The momentum from the second quarter carried into the third in big way for West. In that third stanza they attacked inside first as they fed sophomore Brandon Huffman the ball. The 6'7" center got three and-one plays to get the Eagles started. Huffman finished with 15 points. Wilson was still hot as he hit another trey ball midway through the quarter. Wilson had a game high 22 points and hit five threes. West had a great third quarter outscoring Lathrop 22-7 and the Eagles were up 57-40 at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth it seems as if both teams forgot about the lead as Lathrop picked up their intensity and worked their way back into the game. The Malemutes went to the full court press and slowed down the West attack while getting turnovers and easy shots at the basket.
Late in the fourth quarter Cole Berner hit a three for Lathrop which made it a 62-68 game with 43.4 seconds left. West took a timeout and came out looking to break the full court press. They had difficulty as a missed shot turned intro a defensive rebound for Lathrop. After a tip ball was called out of bounds on West Lathrop called an in bounds play and after two passes Carlson hit a huge three which brought Lathrop within 65-68 with 22 seconds left. Carlson had 11 points scoring eight in the fourth.
After a time out by West the Eagles raced down court and got the ball to Huffman in the paint but Carlson came up with a huge block denying Huffman's shot. Carlson grabbed the loose ball and the Malemutes had a chance to tie as the clock was winding down. They were looking for Berner or Carlson for a three but Berner was doubled and turned the ball over. Da'zhon Wyche got the loose ball and layed it up uncontested at the buzzer for the 70-65 win. Wyce had 16 for West as well.
"You kind of think that the game is over with because you're up 17 points with a quarter to go," West head coach Antonio Wyche said. "They fight. They're supposed to fight. They're supposed to fight to the end I think that's what they did. They came out and they gave us a fight. So on the road I'll take the win. Not up to my expectations but we got it."
Wilson talked about stepping in scoring to help his team get their first win of the season.
"I started off rough and it was a close game. I wasn't trying to have our my team lose so I knew I had to step it up and provide points, rebounds and stuff like that," Wilson said.
Lathrop head coach Milo Griffin describe what happened with Lathrop's last possession of the game.
"Well we wanted to get the ball to either Kyle (Carlson) Or Cole (Berner). We got the ball to Cole too early. We wanted the ball to go the post and back out for a three point shot. But they held the ball too long and they dribbled too much. It's a learning thing. We have to learn to deal with that. Great comeback on a good team and it's all about learning," Griffin said.
It was matchup of two competitive from last year. Both teams split games but the West Anchorage Eagles beat Lathrop in the state tournament and they came way with another win last night.
Lathrop heads to Las Vegas for their preseason tournament games next week while West will play Monroe at Boileau Hall tonight at 6:30.