by Tommy Wells
The Bethel Regional High School Warriors made it official this past weekend: The road to the Western Conference championship will certainly run through them.
Bethel, backed by a double-digit performance from Jayvin Williams, nailed down the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference championship on Saturday by finishing off a two-game sweep of rival Kotzebue.
Bethel will join Kotzebue, Nome-Beltz and Barrow at the conference tournament on March 9-11 at Dimond High School in Anchorage. The top two finishers at the tournament will advance to the Class 3A/4A state tournament on March 23-25.
Kotzebue didn’t make the Warriors’ 56-49 come-from-behind win on Saturday easy. The Huskies picked up a late three-point shot from Louis Edenshaw and managed to send the game into the second quarter with the score knotted at 9-9.
Edenshaw scored five of his 13 points in the initial eight minutes of play.
Williams provided the bulk of Bethel’s first-quarter heroics. He pushed in seven of the team’s total points. John Fredericks added another shot.
Edenshaw continued to wield the hot hand for Kotzebue in the second. He knocked down two three-point shots and spearheaded an 18-point outburst that pushed the Huskies into the half with a 27-24 lead.
Williams, Darrell Garrison and Clevon Constantine helped Bethel stay close in the second. Williams pumped in nine of his game-high 23 points in the frame. Garrison and Constantine both contributed three-point bombs.
Ray Daniel took control of the BRHS offense in the third. He reeled off seven points in the first eight minutes of the second half and keyed a 10-7 run by the Warriors that tied the game at 34-34 at the start of the fourth.
Williams and Garrison cemented the win from there. Williams scored eight points in the fourth, while Garrison added five more to key a decisive 22-13 spree.
Daniel finished the game as Bethel’s second-leading scorer with nine points. Garrison and Constantine both added eight, while Carl Charlie chipped in three. James Flemings and Fredericks both added two.
Ramoth led all Kotzebue scorers with 17.
The warriors didn’t need any come-from-behind heroics in the opener of the series on Friday. Charlie made sure of that.
The BRHS standout pumped in three first-quarter treys and helped the Warriors race out to a 37-30 halftime cushion. From there, they put the game on ice in the third with a 17-12 run that enabled them to head into the fourth with a 12-point lead, at 54-42.
Three Bethel players scored into double figures in the win, including Williams, who netted a team-high 14, and Charlie, who finished with 13. Constantine also contributed 11.
Ray Daniel and Garrison also played well for Bethel, scoring eight and seven points, respectively.
Bish Gallahorn led Kotzebue. He scored 12 of his game-high 18 in the second quarter. Ramoth added 17 – including nine of which came in the final eight minutes.
Bethel will close out its 2016-17 regular season this weekend with a trip to Sitka.