by Tommy Wells
When the Barrow Whalers took away the Bethel Regional High School’s top two scoring threats in Jayvin Williams and Clevon Constantine in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Western Conference showdown, the Warriors needed someone to step forward and deliver.
John Fredericks and Darrel Garrison did just that.
Trailing late in the contest, Fredericks and Garrison helped Bethel rally for a thrilling 47-46 victory over the third-ranked Whalers in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the WarriorDome. The two combined for six of the Warriors’ final six points, including a game-winning shot by Garrison at the end.
Garrison’s basket helped Bethel salvage a split of their two-game weekend series with Barrow. It also gives Bethel plenty of confidence heading into the final two weeks of play prior to the Western Conference tournament.
With Barrow threatening to pull out a tough win, Fredericks breathed new life into the BRHS attack. With less than 2 minutes left in the contest, he drove inside for a basket, and a one-shot free throw opportunity. After knocking down the foul shot, he staked Bethel to a slim lead.
Moments later, Constantine hit the front end of a two-shot trip to the free throw line.
Barrow came storming back. Sparked by 10 fourth-quarter points from Trevor Thomas and Anthony Fruean, the Whalers battled back to take a 46-45 lead and set the stage for Garrison.
The stage wasn’t too big for the BRHS standout.
The two-time defending Class 3A state champions, Barrow didn’t have any trouble finding its offense early on. The Whalers picked up six points from Fruean in the first eight minutes and raced to a 14-11 lead.
The BRHS defense stopped Barrow in it tracks in the second, however. Blanketed by a smothering BRHS defense that forced several clutch turnovers, the Whalers struggled to score just once from the field – by Fruean – in the second quarter.
Williams and the Bethel offense took advantage of the Whalers’ struggles. Williams scored seven of his team-high 18 points in the second and led Bethel to an 18-2 run that allowed the Warriors to roll into the half with a 29-16 lead.
Garrison and Carl Charlie also pumped in clutch three-point shots in the second to help fuel the Warriors’ efforts.
Barrow rallied in the third, outscoring Bethel by a 14-6 clip and pulling to within five, at 35-30, at the start of the final frame.
Constantine finished as Bethel’s second-leading scorer with eight points. Garrison and Ray Daniel added seven and six, respectively.
Fruean led all Barrow scorers with 15. Travis Adams and Thomas also reached double figures with 11 and 10, respectively.
Despite outstanding games from Williams and Charlie on Friday, the Whalers rode 10 three-point shots to an 82-64 victory.
Overall, Barrow and Bethel combined to knock down 18 treys in the contest.
The Whalers hit stride quickly in the opener of the series. Barrow got 11 points from Thomas and Fruean in the first eight minutes and raced to a stunning 28-19 lead.
Thomas sank three of his game-high seven treys in the first quarter. He finished the contest with 23 points – 21 of which came from behind the arc.
Williams helped BRHS star close by tallying seven of his team-high 23 in the opening frame. Daniel added five.
Barrow didn’t slow down in the second. The Whalers pounded out 20 more points in the ensuing frame and built its lead to 18, at 48-30, at the half.
Fruean also finished the game with 23 for Barrow.
Charlie and the BRHS offense regained its composure in the second half. Bethel matched Barrow point-for-point in the final two quarters.
Charlie, who knocked down five of Bethel’s long-range treys, finished the game with 17 points – 15 of which came in the second half.
Daniel and Constantine tallied eight and six, respectively.
Bethel will close out its regular-season conference action this weekend when they square off against Kotzebue. From there, the team will head to Sitka the following weekend for its final matchups of the regular season.