Mariners cruise to Winter Carnival crown
The Homer High School Mariners must have felt as if they were in the drive-thru lane at a fast-food restaurant this past weekend. They did, after all, have everything go their way at the 2018 Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tournament.
The Mariners, rolled to a 3-0 record in the round-robin tournament, including a thrilling 46-40 victory over Mt. Edgecumbe on Saturday, and finished atop the boys' team standings. Mt. Edgecumbe finished second overall at 2-1.
Japheth McGhee got off to a quick start against the Braves. Just seconds into the game he took a pass from Charles Rohr and pushed home a shot from within the paint. His basket sparked a 6-2 run by the Mariners in the first 1:37 of the game. Joel Carroll and Jordan Beachy added baskets in the spree.
Mt. Edgecumbe recovered from the run. The Braves' Isaiah Kline and Al Samuelson connected on back-to-back three-point shots midway through the frame and staked Mt. Edgecumbe to an 8-6 cushion. The Braves, after a three-point shot by Koby Etzwiler had given Homer the lead back temporarily, tacked on a pair of free throws and held a 10-19 lead with 1:25 left in the first quarter.
That turned out to be the Braves last lead. Daniel Reutov and Rohr both pushed home baskets for the Mariners in the final 46 seconds and gave the Mariners a 13-10 lead heading into the second.
Homer continued to pad its lead in the second. Sparked by a three-point shot from Jordan Beachy, the Mariners posted a slim 9-8 run in the second and took a 22-18 advantage into the half.
The HHS defense made its presence felt in the third. Homer limited the Braves' offense to just three points in the first eight minutes of the third and cleared the way for the M's to take a 28-21 lead into the fourth.
Homer sewed up the victory with an impressive effort from the charity stripe in the closing period. The team buried 11 of its 16 free throw attempts in the closing minutes to stave off a MEHS rally.
Etzwiler, who was selected the boys' tournament MVP, finished as Homer's top scorer with 12 points. Rohr and Carroll tallied nine and seven, respectively. Seth Adkins contributed six, while McGhee added five.
Homer had little trouble setting up Saturday's championship game with Mt. Edgecumbe. They rolled to an easy 60-17 victory over the Dillingham Wolverines on Friday. In the win, Homer collected points from nine different players.
Etzwiler made sure the Mariners had plenty of electricity early on for the Mariners. He buried three three-point shots in the first quarter and teamed with Beachy to spearhead a 15-2 run in the first eight minutes of the contest.
Carroll and Ethan Anderson got into the scoring mode in the second. Carroll tossed in four of his seven points in the frame and led a 15-7 second-quarter barrage that sent the Mariners into the half with a lopsided 30-9 cushion.
Anderson netted three in the second.
Homer wrapped up the win with a dominating offense outburst in the third. Etzwiler and Beachy both pushed in a pair of shots from the floor in the frame and keyed an 18-2 run.
Etzwiler finished the contest with a game-high 17 points. Beachy chalked up eight in the victory. Rohr and Carroll both scored seven, while McGhee and Anderson both tallied six. Adkins and Reutov finished with four and three points, respectively, while Jay-Mason netted two.
The Mariners kicked off the tournament with an easy 65-29 romp over the Kotzebue Huskies on Thursday.
Homer all but drove the final nail into Kotzebue's coffin with a dynamic third-quarter barrage. The Mariners pounded out a staggering 25-5 run in the initial eight minutes of the second half and never looked back.
Homer, which collected points from nine players, held a 54-18 lead into the fourth.
Etzwiler led Homer's third-quarter outburst by throwing in eight of his team-high 19 points in the frame. Beachy added five, while Rohr, Reutov and McGhee all chipped in four.
Rohr finished as the Mariners' second double-digit scorer with 14 points. Beachy finished with nine.
As a team, Homer outscored its three opponents by a 171-86 margin.
The Mariners will return to action this weekend when they compete in the Grace Christian tournament, which begins Thursday in Anchorage.