Whalers take aim at 3-peat with win over Kotzebue
Tye Ramoth and Bish Gallahorn threw everything but the kitchen sink at the two-time defending Class 2A state champion Barrow Whalers in the championship round of the 2017 Western Conference Basketball Championships on Friday in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the Dimond High School gymnasium.
In the end, nothing slowed Barrow's roll.
Backed by double-digit performances from four starters, Barrow earned its fourth straight trip to the Class 3A state tournament by grinding out a tough 55-39 victory over the Huskies.
The Whalers, who won both of the conference tournament outings, will advance to face Delta Junction in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament, which begins March 23 in the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
Barrow didn't waste any time in getting its offense into gear against the Huskies. The Whalers opened the contest by reeling off a staggering 21-13 run in the first eight minutes.
Kotzebue didn't go away. Sparked by a pair of clutch three-point shots from Ramoth, the Huskies chewed away at Barrow's lead in the second. Ramoth's second trey highlighted a 11-8 run to start the second and pulled the Huskies to within five, at 29-24, with 2:24 left in the first half.
Sione Tui'fua gave Barrow the momentum back moments later with a basket that carried the Whalers into the half with a 31-24 cushion.
The BHS defense took over in the third. Barrow limited the Huskies to just two baskets in the first eight minutes of the second half and built its lead to 11, at 39-28.
The Whalers, who were led offensively by Anthony Freuan's 14 points, salted away the game with a 16-11 spree in the fourth quarter.
Koa Ahgeak and Travis Adams both contributed double-digit efforts for BHS, netting 11 each. Trevor Thomas added 10.
Ramoth keyed Kotzebue's attack with a game-high 15 points. Gallahorn added 12.
Barrow opened the tournament on Thursday with a win over Nome-Beltz. Kotzebue saw its bid for a state berth come to an end on Saturday with a 54-42 loss to bethel Regional High School in the second-place game.