Metlakatla stays alive in B Bracket

Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wednesday spelled doomsday for Sitka Estella in one of the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament's first elimination games.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Metlakatla knocked out Sitka from the Mighty B Bracket with a 90-76 victory.

Metlakatla's Brian Hayward utilized his size and strength on the offensive end to set the game's tone. Stashing away numerous rebounds and muscling down low for high percentage baskets, Hayward cleaned house with 15 first-half points as Metlakatla took a 45-38 halftime lead. Hayward finished with 25 points.

"That was pretty much routine play from me tonight," Hayward said. "Growing up with my older brothers, they did all the scoring and I did all the clean up."

While Hayward stimulated Metlakatla's offense under the basket, Mike Henderson extended the offense beyond the 3-point arc, knocking down three of his team's five first-half 3-pointers.

Metlakatla tucked away a couple of extra buckets on Sitka early and maintained a nine-point cushion for most of the first half. Metlakatla led 46-38 at halftime.

Paul Carrington kept Sitka alive, however. Carrington scored 24 points in the loss and kept Sitka within striking distance until pure shooter Matt Burrows found pay dirt.

Scoreless in the first half, Burrows finished with 11 points, but opened the second half bombing three consecutive 3-pointers, whittling Metlakatla's lead to within a single bucket, 52-50.

Henderson and Hayward responded by knocking down three 3-pointers of their own to push the lead back up to 10.

"I don't think we felt any pressure right there," said Henderson, who scored 26 points. "We were really just trying to take the big man out of the game."

Metlakatla started going inside and pumped the lead to 19 points with 8:15 left.

Richie Hayward had 18 points and Anthony Gogert added 11 in the win.

For Sitka, Jones scored 15 points while Tom Gamble chipped in 11 points.

Metlakatla will play Hoonah at 3:30 p.m. today in another elimination game.

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