The Soldotna boys basketball team defeated Eagle River 59-56 in triple overtime Thursday night in the opening round of the 2016 Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament.
It was the first game, and the first victory, for Stars head coach Nolan Rose.
The Stars won the battle by sending four of Eagle River’s top six players to the bench due to fouls. In the third overtime, SoHi outscored Eagle River 5-2.
SoHi was down in the fourth quarter, but came back to take the lead at 41-40 on a pair of free throws by Derek Evans at 1:12. Evans had ignited the charge with a two-handed slam to cut the gap to 38-34.
After an Eagle River turnover, Eli Sheridan then made a pair of foul shots for a 43-40 game with 34 seconds left. But Eagle River hit a 3-pointer with a little over 10 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
In the first overtime, the Wolves held a 51-48 lead and the ball with 13 seconds left, but Sheridan got a steal and found Evans for a 3-point shot and a second overtime.
In the second overtime, Eagle River did not score until a 3-pointer tied the game at 54 with less than a minute left in the game. Evans was then fouled with .7 seconds left, but missed both free throws to send the game to triple overtime.
In earlier games, Mt. Edgecumbe defeated Homer 42-41, Dimond defeated Kenai 85-42 and Ninilchik topped Nikiski 67-38.
It was a great start for the Ninilchik Wolverines, the defending Class 1A state champions. Austin White had 27 points for Ninilchik, while Tyler Presley had 20 points.
Today, the semifinals feature Mt. Edgecumbe against Dimond at 6:30 p.m. and Soldotna against Ninilchik at 8:15 p.m.
In the fourth-place semifinals, Homer and Kenai face off at 3 p.m., while Nikiski and Eagle River play at 4:45 p.m.