Eagles undefeated season grounded with opening loss

Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Angoon Eagles boy's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season, 69-47, in the opening round of the Alaska School Activities Association Class 2A State Boys Basketball Tournament at Anchorage's Sullivan Arena.

Facing a physically bigger team inside, the Eagles lost the opening tip to Seldovia's Levi West Harkness and fell back into a 2-3 zone hoping to control the boards. Harkness, however, scored with a mid-range jumper in what would be a sign of things to come.

John Croasmun notched the Eagles' first basket and Michael Howard hit a free throw to give the Eagles their only lead of the game, 3-2, at the 6:28 mark of the first period.

Turnovers plagued the Eagles and two errant passes forced a time-out by coach Travis Woodbury at the 2:50 mark, with the Eagles trailing 8-3. Seldovia stole the inbounds pass, scored and finished the quarter on a 7-5 run for a 17-8 first-period advantage.

"We just didn't play Angoon ball today," Eagles coach Travis Woodbury said. "We didn't move the ball, we missed easy shots and we got out-rebounded."

The Eagles had 10 turnovers in the game to five for Seldovia and were out-rebounded 45-35.

Seldovia continued to use an inside-outside game in the second period while Angoon spread the floor and attacked off the dribble, kicking the ball outside for perimeter jump shots. Croasmun scored six of his team-high 25 with a series of jumpers and Michael Howard's two free throws with 1:40 remaining in the half, pulling the Eagles within 11 at 26-15. Croasmun hit another jumper, then blocked a shot and drove the length of the floor to draw a nonshooting foul. The inbounds pass was stolen, however, and Seldovia spread out Angoon's zone, hitting a three-pointer with 30 seconds remaining to take a 29-17 lead. Howard drove the length of the court with 10 seconds left, for a 29-19 halftime score.

Howard's two free throws in the opening moments of the second half brought the Eagles to within eight, at 29-21, but 3-pointers by Griffin Swift and Harkness gave the Sea Otters the momentum. Howard converted two more free throws as the Eagles continued to drive against the Sea Otters matchup 1-3-1 zone. Gaines' 3-pointer at the 1:50 mark put the Sea Otters up 45-27. Howard hit one of two free throws, but Harkness drained a deep three to make it 48-28 at the end of the third.

"They were a scrappy ball club," Harkness said. "They always had a hand in my face or on the ball."

The Eagles couldn't break the 20-point spread in the final period and while Croasmun scored eight of his team-high 25 points in the stanza. Harkness hit six of his 25 game points inside, and teammate Swick hit two three-pointers on the perimeter to frustrate the Angoon defense. The Eagles tried to trap out of their zone, and the disciplined Sea Otters moved the ball until fouled, winning 69-47.

"They have relied on me all season," Croasmun said. "I didn't want to let them down today. We battled hard, but just didn't play as a team the way Angoon teams play."

Howard scored 10 for the Eagles, William Silva added five, Jordan Joseph three, Michael Croasmun and Nathan See two apiece. Both clubs hit 14-19 at the line, but Seldovia was 7-12 from the arch. The Eagles now play in the consolation brackets for possible fourth place.

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