The Seldovia boys had several strong opportunities to seal a quarterfinal victory over Manokotak in the final minute of regulation Monday at the Sullivan Arena. Instead, the final seconds developed into a frenzied scene of near misses.
Down to just three players, Manokotak nearly pulled off a stunning win over Seldovia in the Class 1A state tournament quarterfinals. Instead, it was the Sea Otters coming away with the 56-55 victory to advance to the state semifinal round.
Happy to be moving on, but not too pleased with the way it ended, Seldovia advances to a Tuesday matchup against Anaktuvuk Pass at 6:50 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Arena. The winner earns a spot in the 1A championship final Wednesday.
“We won but it doesn’t feel like a team victory,” Seldovia senior Seth O’Leary said.
“Survive and advance,” teammate Aidan Philpot reminded.
Philpot poured in 21 points with six rebounds and six assists, and shot 9 of 11 from the free-throw line. Dylan Waterbury added 13 points for the Sea Otters, while O’Leary netted nine points and eight boards.
Seldovia coach Mark Janes said Monday’s win felt unusual, partly because it was the first time he’s coached in a game without a full lineup on the court.
“Well it feels like a win because we’re through,” Janes said. “But it was a little too close at the end there.”
Closer than it probably should have been.
With only six players on its roster to begin with, Manokotak found itself in foul trouble by the late third quarter. David Black fouled out midway through the quarter to leave the Lynx with no room for error from that point on. Then, leading scorers Travis Black and Jeoffery Gloko were both hit with their fifth foul in a span of 47 seconds in the last two minutes of the game, leaving Manokotak with three players on the court for the final 14 seconds of play.
Because of the fouls, Seldovia was given four free throw opportunities to put the game away, but O’Leary missed all four to keep Manokotak behind by one point.
“I think it was just the close game, it got to me,” O’Leary said.
After O’Leary missed his fourth attempt with 11 seconds left, the Lynx managed to grab the rebound and took off down the court for a potential game-winning shot. The Lynx got off two attempts but missed both before the clock ran out.
But with a man advantage and a chance to put the game away, the final two shot attempts by the Lynx must have felt like forever.
“Lost our minds, I guess, I don’t know,” Philpot said about the late defensive breakdown.
“We made too many mistakes at the end there,” Janes added.
In a contest which saw a largest lead of six points, mistakes were costly.
Manokotak led 13-7 midway through the opening quarter, but Seldovia began to find its stride, particularly from beyond the 3-point line. The Otters hit 5 of 9 shots from long range in the first half to take a 33-29 lead into the locker room at halftime. Seldovia also controlled the glass with a 20-9 rebounding advantage.
In the second half, the Lynx fought back and forged a 43-all tie with the Otters after three quarters, leading to a dramatic fourth frame. After a step-back jumper by Adrian Gloko early in the quarter put Manokotak ahead by two points, Seldovia answered with a 7-0 run to grab a 50-45 lead with 5:41 to go.
From there, Travis Black scored Manokotak’s next eight points, almost exclusively on transition layups. With 3:52 to go, Black laid in a bucket to put the Lynx up 53-52, but Calem Collier responded with putback layup on a missed free throw on the next possession to retake the lead.
Gloko put Manokotak back in front 55-54 with a midrange shot, but Seldovia wasn’t done yet. Philpot found space at the top of the key and drove the lane for the go-ahead floater with 1:55 to play. It ultimately ended up as the game-winner.
“I wanted to get to the basket,” Philpot said. “We were down, so we had to score.”
Philpot said as long as Seldovia commits to playing better defense when it counts the most, Tuesday’s semifinal clash with the Wolves should offer a solid chance at getting to the state final, which would be a first for the Seldovia boys.
“I feel like we can do a lot better in our next game,” Philpot said. “If we keep our heads up and put our team first and communicate, I think we’ll be good to go.”
Angoon boys 54,
Duncan O’Brien forced the Nikolaevsk boys to an early exit with a dominant quarterfinal victory Monday at the Sullivan Arena.
The matchup featured Angoon versus Nikolaevsk, but it was O’Brien doing all the scoring as he poured in 42 of Angoon’s 54 points and brought down 10 rebounds for good measure.
O’Brien’s stats were dazzling. The 6-foot-2 senior forward finished 18 for 25 on two-point shots, the majority of them coming on quick cuts to the rim, which time and time again foiled the Warriors defense.
The loss relegated Nikolaevsk to the consolation side of the winner’s bracket — starting with a 1 p.m. clash today with Elim — and out of contention for a state crown.
Nikolaevsk sophomore Nikit Fefelov led the Warriors with 15 points, while Neil Gordeev and Jonah Fefelov both added 10. Gordeev shot 5 for 7 from the field and Fefelov grabbed nine boards.
O’Brien scored all 19 of Angoon’s first-half points en route to a 19-17 lead, and continued the run into the second half. O’Brien single-handedly led the Eagles to a 25-19 lead by the early minutes of the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Nikolaevsk continued to threaten a comeback, getting as close as three points by the 3:19 mark of the third quarter, but never any closer. Jonah Fefelov nailed a triple with 5:33 left in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 39-33, but O’Brien responded by outscoring Nikolaevsk 11-2 over the next 3:15 to seal the win.
Sea Otters 56, Lynx 55
Seldovia 18 15 10 13 —56
Manokotak 18 11 14 12 —55
SELDOVIA (56) — Ozyildirim 2 0-0 4, Waterbury 5 1-2 13, Collier 3 0-0 7, Haller 1 0-0 2, Philpot 5 9-11 21, O’Leary 4 1-6 9, Stanish 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 11-19 56.
MANOKOTAK (55) — Andrew 1 0-0 2, J. Gloko 8 0-0 16, Nick 1 0-0 2, T. Black 11 3-4 27, A. Gloko 2 0-0 4, D. Black 1 1-2 4. Totals 24 4-6 55.
3-point goals — Seldovia 5 (Waterbury 2, Philpot 2, Collier 1); Manokotak 3 (T. Black 2, D. Black 1). Fouled out — J. Gloko, T. Black, D. Black.
Eagles 54, Warriors 43
Angoon 9 10 18 17 —54
Nikolaevsk 6 11 10 16 —43
ANGOON (54) — Sibley 0 0-0 0, Braley 1 2-4 4, Paul 2 0-0 6, McCluskey 0 0-0 0, Howard 0 0-0 0, Collins 1 0-0 2, O’Brien 18 6-7 42, Hunter-Skeek 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 8-11 54.
NIKOLAEVSK (43) — K. Molodih 1 2-2 4, Trail 0 0-2 0, Yakunin 0 0-0 0, N. Fefelov 6 0-0 15, Gordeev 5 0-0 10, F. Molodih 2 0-1 4, J. Fefelov 3 2-5 10, Kalugin 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 4-10 43.