by Tommy Wells
The Bethel Regional High School Warriors staged a dynamic second-half rally on Saturday evening in front of a large crowd in the WarriorDome en route to rallying from an early deficit to force overtime in the championship game of the 2018 Ravn Invitational Basketball Tournament.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the team’s second-half offensive surge didn’t extend into the OT period.
Unalaska reeled off a 6-3 effort in the overtime frame and escaped with a tough 54-51 victory.
Despite the loss, Bethel turned in a solid outing during the three-day tournament, going 2-1 and improving to 7-5 heading into this weekend’s Western Conference showdown with rival Barrow.
The Warriors, who had trounced Galena by a 59-30 margin on Friday to earn a berth in the championship game, struggled to get its offense going early on in the finals. Bethel managed just two shots from the field in the first eight minutes of the game and found itself looking up at a 14-6 deficit at the end of the initial period.
Ray Daniel and Darrell Garrison managed to record the Warriors’ lone baskets of the first quarter. Clevon Constantine added a pair of free throws.
Bethel managed to get itself going in the second. Backed by points from five different players, the Warriors pounded out 15 points in the frame and trimmed Unalaska’s lead to six, 27-21, at the half.
John Fredericks and Jamin Crow sparked Bethel’s success in the second. Fredericks nailed a clutch three-point shot in the closing moments of the half to give the Warriors plenty of momentum heading into the half.
Crow chipped in a pair of baskets in the second. Daniel and Garrison contributed three apiece.
Unalaska regained the upper hand in the third. Sparked by a pair of three-point shots, the Raiders scratched out a slim 12-11 run in the frame and carried a 39-33 lead into the fourth.
Constantine and Crow took over the game from there. The two combined for 12 points in the fourth and led Bethel on a 16-9 run that knotted the score at 48-48 at the end of regulation. Constantine and Crow both tallied six points in the fourth, while Daniel and Garrison added two each.
Unalaska weathered Bethel’s late run in OT. The Raiders managed to wrap a pair of baskets and two free throws around three points from Fredericks to seal the win.
Constantine finished the game as Bethel’s top scorer with 14 points. Crow added 12, while Fredericks and Daniel each contributed nine. Garrison tallied seven.
Matt Faoasau and Trevor Wilson scored 14 and 12, respectively, for the Raiders.
A former member of the Western Conference, the Raiders advanced to the championship game via a 75-47 victory over Kotzebue on Friday.
Bethel kicked off the tournament on Thursday with an 84-31 victory over Aniak.
The Warriors will return to action this weekend when they travel to Utqiagvik for a weekend series with the Barrow Whalers.