The oft-seen, ofttimes-duplicated furious starting time from the Due east Loftier boys basketball team fabricated sure of a 35th sequent victory Fri evening.
Stretching the sustained success another game figures to test the Thunderbirds more than just about anything has these last few seasons.
Alaska’s reigning Form 4A state champion, East forced half-dozen outset-quarter turnovers and sprinted out to a 21-betoken lead less than ten minutes into play. Information technology downed Cook Inlet Conference rival W threescore-41 in the Alaska Airlines Classic semifinals within the Eagles’ gym.
Silky-shine senior Damarion Delaney pumped in eight of his game-high 16 points in the opening menses and also grabbed a game-high vii rebounds. Sophomore Akeem Sulaiman scored an impressive 13 points coming off the bench and senior Elijah Reed added 10 points.
The Thunderbirds (10-0) advanced to their kickoff Classic title tilt since 2016. They besides tied host Due west by reaching a seventh finale in the storied tournament’s history and, most importantly, kept the wins coming forth.
“The (winning) streak really doesn’t mean anything to me,” said Reed, the 5-foot-x, 220-pounder who starred every bit a bruising back for the Thunderbirds’ state-champion football squad last fall. “We don’t look dorsum on concluding season. Nosotros worry only what we got in front united states (at present).”
Yeah, near that. Tonight, the Thunderbirds become a scissure at St. Joseph out of Santa Maria, Calif., and phenom Tounde Yessoufou. The freshman originally from the West Africa nation of Benin looks similar he’s straight out of Marvel Studios and could exist a new fellow member of “The Avengers” alongside Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
2022 Alaska Airlines Classic
At West High
Dimond 54, Colony xxx
Lathrop 58, Juneau-Douglas 53
St. Joseph (CA) 62, ThunderRidge (CO) 50
Due east Anchorage 60, West Anchorage 41
iii p.yard. Seventh place: Colony vs. Juneau-Douglas
4:30 p.g. Fourth place: Dimond vs. Lathrop
6 p.m. Third place: ThunderRidge (CO) vs. West Anchorage
7:xxx p.m. Championship: St. Joseph (CA) vs. East Anchorage
The Knights improved to 18-2 by beating the tournament’southward other Outside team, ThunderRidge (Colo.), 62-50. In ii Classic games, all Yessoufou has done is boilerplate 25.5 points, 12 rebounds and thrown downwards more dazzling dunks than most CIC teams dream of in a total flavour.
To Eastward’south credit, it welcomes the claiming.
“Nosotros’ll be set,” said Sulaiman. “It’s the only attitude we tin bring to the game.”
Due east is a senior-heavy team with Delaney, Reed, Daion Doughty, Kyler Johnson and Deuce Zimmerman playing the most minutes as the starting quintet. These guys have been together forever, and Sulaiman listens to them and veteran coach Chuck Martin to grow into a better actor.
“I’m always going to play hard and do what I accept to do,” Sulaiman said. “I’1000 going to score when I have to, get upwards and downwardly the flooring and play stiff defense force.
“These guys are winners. I’ve learned a lot.”
East led xx-half-dozen after the first and 36-20 at halftime. West (3-5) succumbed to the Thunderbirds’ defensive pressure to the tune of xviii total turnovers. Meanwhile, East merely committed 5 turnovers, all in the 2nd half.
“East is a very good team,” said W coach Josh Muehlenkamp. “Coach Martin does an amazing job, and those guys are ever going to do what they exercise.”
The backcourt duo of Willie Zamora and Xyomar Velez combined for 22 points. Velez made three three-pointers. West kept things interesting as E only outscored the Eagles 24-21 in the 2d half.
“I told our guys nosotros were going to detect out where we were on Jan. 21,” Muehlenkamp said. “We learned nosotros have some growing to do.”
Due east’southward Sulaiman is listed at half dozen-iii, 173 pounds and likely has some bulking upwardly alee of him. St. Joseph’south Yessoufou checks in at half dozen-v, 200 and appears chiseled out of granite or some other anile stone-similar substance.
Somehow, these 2 immature men are similar in age.
Why doesn’t Sulaiman look as mature.
“I don’t know,” he said with a express joy.
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