Fourth-quarter surge lifts Valdez past Warriors at the 3A state basketball finals

Bethel Warrior Jamin Crow dribbles past a Monroe Ram defender at the boys State 3A basketball tournament in Anchorage last weekend. photos by Greg Lincoln

by Tommy Wells

John Fredericks and Clevon Constantine did everything they could on Friday afternoon for the Bethel Regional High School Warriors’ showdown with state-ranked Valdez. They scored. They rebounded. They blocked shots.
In the end, however, Valdez survived.
Valdez ended Bethel’s 2017-18 season in the second round of the Class 3A state basketball tournament by piecing together a decisive 17-11 run in the final eight minutes and escaping with a tough 50-41 victory in the semifinals of the consolation round. With the loss, Bethel finished its season at 15-10.
The Warriors didn’t make the win easy for the Buccaneers, who finished fourth in the final tournament standings following a 72-59 win over Mt. Edgecumbe on Saturday. Bethel fought its way to within three, at 33-30, heading into the fourth quarter.
Valdez, which had entered the state tournament ranked among the top teams in the state, took an early lead. The Buccaneers outscored the Warriors by a slim 4-10 clip in the first eight minutes of the contest.
The extended their lead to six in the second quarter with a 15-13 effort in the ensuing frame. Valdez held a 29-23 lead at the half.
The Warriors, who were led by Frederick’s 11 points, roared back in the third. Bethel outscored the Bucs by a 7-4 clip in the frame and pulled to within one possession.
Fredericks also led the team in rebounding, finishing with eight boards.
Constantine closed out the game with eight points and four rebounds. He and Darrell Garrison finished as the team’s top shot blockers, posting two apiece. Fredericks and Jamin Crow also blocked shots in the affair.
Crow and Ray Daniel also played well in the matchup, posting seven and six points, respectively.
Garrison scored five, while Lawrence Poe and Eli Mortenson tossed in three and one, respectively.
Logan Heckathorn led all Valdez scorers with 12 points. Bennett Hinkle added 11.
Bethel kicked off its outing at the tournament on Thursday with a tough 60-28 loss to top-ranked Monroe Catholic.
Despite the loss, Fredericks and Avery Hoffman both turned in solid outings for the Warriors. Fredericks totaled nine points and four rebounds in the contest. Hoffman chipped in six points. Constantine and Crow also turned in strong outings against Monroe Catholic. Constantine recorded five points and six rebounds, while Crow grabbed a game-high nine boards to go along with his five points.