by Tommy Wells
For four quarters in the championship game, Shaun Agimuk had done everything in his power to help the Chevak Comets stand toe-to-toe with the Bethel Regional High School Warriors junior varsity. It wasn’t quite enough.
Weary from having scored 29 points and leading a wild 40-28 second-half rally, the Chevak standout looked up at the scoreboard at the end of regulation. A 41-41 tie meant there was still work to be done.
With that in mind Agimuk dug a little deeper.
With just over a minute left to play in overtime, Agimuk gave the Comets the boost they needed. He ignited a 10-point outburst by pulling up and sinking a three-point shot. Then, after he and Mikey Boy Jones had pushed home a pair of shots from the floor, Agimuk put the finishing touches on Chevak’s 58-55 victory by drilling the sixth trey of the game.
With his fifth three-pointer of the second half, Agimuk closed out a superhuman effort against BRHS. He netted a game-high 37 points in the contest, including 30 of which came in the second half and OT.
Agimuk carried the Comet offense in the extra frame. He scored 12 of the team’s final 17 points. Jaden Ulroan had scored earlier in the period.
Bethel managed to keep Agimuk in check early in the contest. The Warriors limited the Kashunamiut HS standout to just four points in the first eight minutes of the contest. Backed by its defensive play, Bethel ended the first quarter with the game deadlocked at 7-7.
Hunter Carter led BRHS’ first-quarter efforts. He pushed in four of his team-high 13 points in the frame. Lawrence Poe added a shot from the field in the period, while Mathew Hunter chipped in a free throw.
Jones tallied Chevak’s only other first-quarter points with a three-point shot.
Bethel pushed its way into the lead in the second. The Warriors picked up baskets from Poe, Max Black, Donald Greydanus and Nelson Evans and raced to a 15-14 halftime lead.
The Warriors, who had advanced to the tournament finals with a win over St. Mary’s in the semifinals on Friday, extended its lead in the third. Powered by five points from Avery Hoffman and a pair of baskets from Carter, Bethel pounded out a 12-4 run in the first eight minutes of the second half and took a 27-18 cushion into the fourth.
Chevak came roaring back from there. Agimuk pumped in 14 points in the fourth and spearheaded a 23-14 run that send the game into OT. Cole Agimuk aided the run with a clutch three-point shot. Seth Usugan, Lincoln Friday and Ulroan also added shots in the frame.
Ulroan and Jones both finished with five points. Friday and Usugan added four each.
Hoffman joined Carter in reaching double figures in scoring for Bethel. He finished with 11, eight of which came in the second half.
Poe and Black closed out the contest with eight points apiece. Hunter added six.
Chevak finished the tournament with a 3-0 record. The Comets had opened the event with a win over Kuskokwim Learning Academy on Thursday, and then punched their ticket to the championship game with a victory over Kipnuk on Friday.
Bethel’s first-round win came via Kalskag.
“This weekend was a great atmosphere created by the fans of the teams that attended the inaugural VFW tournament,” said Dr. Boyer who helped sponsor the tournament and also refereed many of the games. “We would like to thank the players, coaches, and fans from KLA, Kalskag, Nunapitchuk, Akiak, Kipnuk, Akiachak, BRHS, Chevak, and Saint Marys for making this tournament a great success. We look forward to hosting the same tournament next year.”