FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) There are few moments during a basketball in which the gymnasium is silent; maybe a crucial free throw, an injury or a moment of silence. For over three minutes on Friday, the Lathrop High School gym was hushed, in honor of the late Coach Joe Tremarello, a Lathrop legend and a leader in Fairbanks basketball throughout his life. Once either team scores their 10th point, the crowd emerges from the silence. Allowing the crowd to erupt this year was Lathrop's Ben Kraska, who scored the 10th point three minutes and 25 seconds into the game. Kraska finished with 12, and the Malemutes finished with a 70-52 win over the Eielson Ravens.
This was Lathrop's first Silent Night victory in four years, falling each of the last three years.
"I thought for a first game, it was one of the better first games I have been a part of," Lathrop head coach Matt Wilken said after the game. "Especially considering seven of our 12 on the roster are underclassmen, they showed a lot of maturity for the experience they have had."
Senior Jhon Rones was all over the court for Lathrop, forcing turnovers that lead to points, where he finished with a game-high 19, while Tyriq Luke added 17 for the Malemutes. While those two starters are expected to produce, Coach Wilken was impressed with his team's bench stepping up.
"It was a nice surprise, I wasn't sure what to expect once we got into the nine, 10, 11 guys, but we didn't lose anything so i think we definitely have some nice building blocks to build upon in the next year or two." Wilken said.
The game was closer than the 18-point difference at the end. Ravens players like Christian Bolten, who had 17 points, kept clawing and making it difficult for the Malemutes to close the door on the game.
Eielson will compete in the ACS Tournament in Anchorage beginning January 2, while the Lathrop boys will head to Ketchikan for the Clark Cochrane Tournament December 27-30.
The Lathrop girls made a statement early, running and gunning up and down the court for four quarters en route to a 58-14 rally over Eielson on Friday. It was the TT Tagovailoa show, repeatedly finishing in the open court, racking up 20 points in the victory. It was the freshman's first game of her high school career and is already turning heads. As lethal as she was on the volleyball court this year, she is just as deadly on the hardwood, outscoring the Ravens by herself. Tristain Martin contributed 13 points for the Malemutes. As for Eielson, they also had a freshman led them in scoring, anchored by Gabby Wright's six points.
The Lathrop girls will get great opportunity to compete in a tournament in Las Vegas over the Holiday break. The Eielson girls will also be taking on the ACS tournament in early January.
Both of the games were endowment games, meaning it will not go against either team's record this season.