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CIA girls, boys win at state’s first round

The Cook Inlet Academy girls and boys basketball teams both won their first-round games Wednesday at the Class 1A state basketball tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage to move to the quarterfinals.

The Cook Inlet Academy girls defeated St. Mary’s 49-35 to move to 17-6 overall. The Eagles face No. 3 seed Tanalian today at 9:30 a.m.

The CIA girls were able to hold St. Mary’s to 3 of 21 from the 3-point line and 14 of 55 overall. The Eagles finished 21 of 54 from the floor.

“We played really well,” CIA girls head coach Josh Hawley said. “We did not give them what they wanted. They wanted a lot of 3-pointers.”

The Eagles led 26-14 at the half, but hit a rough patch in the third quarter and were outscored 11-9. Hawley said his team got in foul trouble.

Hope Hillyer, who was 6 of 15 from the floor and had 12 points and 10 rebounds, fouled out in the third quarter. Tatum Rozak, who was 8 of 18 from the floor and had 21 points and 13 rebounds, had four fouls in the third quarter. There was a point with about eight minutes left that Hawley thought Rozak could be gone, as well.

“I’m not saying I wasn’t sweating a bit,” Hawley said of Rozak almost fouling out. “I thought, ‘Can we win this game without her?’ I thought we could, but I was nervous.”

Hawley said he had players up top like Katya Vitryachenko, Rebekah Dillingham and Vera Vitryachenko crank up the pressure so players like Ella Rollman, Kaitlyn Liles and Rozak would have less of a chance of fouling.

The CIA coach also said rebounding was a big factor in the game. The Eagles won that battle 45-29.

Rollman added 14 points for CIA, while Katya Vitryachenko had two points and Liles had seven rebounds.

Hawley is hoping CIA’s size advantage and intensity will carry the day against Tanalian. He said Tanalian has a very good point guard that penetrates and creates good shots for others.

The No. 2 seed Cook Inlet Academy boys defeated Emmonak 64-45 to move to 23-2 overall. The Eagles face Tri-Valley at 7:45 p.m. in the quarterfinals today. CIA defeated Tri-Valley 62-46 on Feb. 4.

The Eagles jumped out to a 22-11 lead after a quarter and 38-19 lead at halftime, then played Emmonak even the rest of the way to cruise to the win.

“It was a good first-round victory against a team where we didn’t know what to expect,” CIA head coach Ben McGarry said.

In the process, CIA rolled up some interesting stats.

The Eagles were 23 of 33 on 2-point shots and 5 of 10 on 3-point shots.

“Sometimes players like the court and like the rims,” McGarry said. “In the warmups, they told me the gym felt good and the rims felt good. They were excited to get out there.”

The only oddity is that CIA went 3 of 9 from the foul line.

“The stats were a little backwards,” McGarry said.

The Eagles also rolled up a 43-17 lead on rebounds. That should have had them well on the way to a blowout, but CIA turned the ball over 34 times to Emmonak’s 15.

“In the third quarter we let them come back within 12,” McGarry said. “I’ve watched the film already. There were eight or 10 turnovers almost in a row.

“I almost called a timeout because I was pretty upset, but then we went on a 10-0 run and were up 50-28 again.”

Alek McGarry led CIA with 22 points, hitting 9 of 11 from the floor and 2 of 2 from 3-point land. Ian McGarry had 15 points, hitting 7 of his 12 shots and 1 of 2 from 3. Abraham Henderson had 14 points and 13 rebounds, hitting 6 of his 8 field goals.

Also for CIA, Brandt Rollman and Jeremiah Dillingham had four, Jonas Oyoumick had three and Brady Baeten had two.

Coach McGarry said part of the reason the teams played more even in the second half is he subbed more freely and took off the press to conserve energy.

McGarry said Tri-Valley was missing a player in the previous contest. McGarry said his team has to be ready to face a team wanting revenge in the emotional environment at state.

The good news is CIA gets to play on the same floor.

“I think if we play our game, we can come out with a victory,” McGarry said.

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