ANCHORAGE - Playing a fast-paced, exciting brand of basketball, the Yakutat High School boys hoops team captured the Class 2A state championship Thursday at Sullivan Arena.
The Eagles blistered Bristol Bay with a lethal combination of sweet shooting and tough rebounding on the way to a 71-49 victory.
Known by many as a premier surfing community, the Eagles are the kings of Class 2A.
"There's been a lot of support for the team," Yakutat point guard Tracy Jackson said. "We're a basketball community. We love it. Whenever our heads were down, they picked us up."
Behind the pulsing chant of "Eagle Power" from their orange-and-black crowd, Yakutat dictated the pace of the game. The Eagles took advantage by rebounding with abandon, then knocking down key shots with their fast-paced, run-and-gun offense.
All-Tournament selection Sam Ferguson led the Eagles with 20 points, including five 3-pointers.
"It's my senior year, I gave it all I had," an ecstatic Ferguson said. "This is the funnest game I've ever played."
Yakutat wasted no time seizing control. Running at almost every opportunity, Yakutat jumped to a 21-16 first-quarter lead.
In the second quarter, Ferguson helped lift the Eagles to their first state title. The senior knocked down three three-pointers in the second quarter as Yakutat took a 38-29 lead.
The Angels struggled to battle back, as Yakutat played with boundless energy.
"We knew that in their first two games Bristol Bay came out hot and left the other team behind," Ferguson said. "We knew that if we jumped the gun on them we'd have a chance. So we jumped the gun on them."
Yakutat put the game away in the third quarter. Alin Vale, Ferguson and Jay Sin swished consecutive 3-pointers midway through the quarter to give Yakutat an insurmountable 22-point lead.
In a true team effort, Yakutat received contributions from its whole roster.
Jack Klushkan had 16 points and four rebounds, Jackson dished out eight assists, Kyle Dierick scored 11 points, Doug Ross had eight points and four rebounds and Sin contributed five points and three boards.
Also for the Eagles, Stephen Adams had two points.
The team also received contributions from Keith Ivers, Carl Bogren and Lucas Wheeler.
The team did an outstanding job on the boards, gobbling up 30 rebounds and limiting Bristol Bay to few offensive rebounds.
"The whole town was behind this team," Eagles coach Bert Adams Jr. said. "They knew something special was going on here."
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.