The Haines Merchants continue their sweep of opponents from the southern part of the panhandle, colliding and conquering the Metlakatla Merchants 83-70 on Tuesday, just one day after their 66-58 run past Wrangell, and advancing to the semi final game of the 2013 Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.
Tyler Healy and Kyle Rush bombarded the Metlakatla defense with five triples in the first half. Healy scored 10 of his team-high 24 points and Rush 11 of his 18, to keep an athletic Metlakatla team honest on defending the perimeter.
Metlakatla’s Willie Hayward hit 18 of his game-high 28 points in the opening stanza and the southern Merchants tallied seven triples to keep up with their running northern opponents.
“We had some problems with turnovers so we had to calm that down in the second half,” Healy said. “Then we made some free throws late to close it out a little bit.”
The addition of Chris Bryant helped to make up for the absence of team leader Richie Hayward, who is set to return if Metlakatla gets to Thursday play.
“He is a good player and really tough to guard,” Healy said of Bryant. “He got by me a few times, but it is a lot easier when you have Ben (Egolf) and the other guys giving great help defense inside. It makes it way easier to gamble and put a little pressure on top.”
Egolf blocked two shots within the first two minutes of the game after Metlakatla had taken a 4-0 lead. The second block came with Metlakatla up 11-2 and sparked a fast break that saw Kyle Rush drain his first of three triples in the stanza.
Haines tied the score at 26. The game would be tied two more times until Metlakatla took the first half 47-43.
Haines tied the score at 15:22 of the second half on a Healy runner but Make Henderson drained a triple to give Met the edge again.
Healy answered with another deep bomb to tie the score and Dave Barry sank a free throw to give Haines the lead for good. Metlakatla pulled within two at 68-66 with 10 minutes remaining but could not get that close again.
Haines hit 11-13 from the charity stripe in the final four minutes as Metlakatla pressured full court to get the ball.
Healy led Haines with 24 points, Rush 18, Egolf 10, Barry nine, Harry Reitze eight, and Michael Garney four. Haines hit 13-22 at the free throw line, Metlakatla went 6-8. Hayward’s 28 led Metlakatla, Jason Enright added 14, Bryant 11, Henderson eight, Chris Booth three, Marty Martinez Jr., Zachary Mills, and Dean Mahon two each.
Haines advances to play Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against the winner of Angoon/Kake (late score on Tuesday).
Metlakatla plays today at 7:30 p.m. against Hydaburg in an elimination game.