Willie Hayward's big night helps lift Metlakatla

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2007

Metlakatla kept its Mighty B Bracket championship hopes alive Thursday with a 92-86 win over Angoon in the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament.

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Willie Hayward's 35-point explosion helped defeat Angoon. Clayton Edwin scored 33 in the loss.

Angoon employed a tough zone defense early, designed to keep the ball out of Hayward's hands.

When Hayward did get it, Angoon made him hesitate, think twice, and make turnovers.

Curtis Lane, who scored 17 points, helped keep Angoon tight in the first half with several assists. Angoon led 30-24 with two minutes left in the first half.

Hayward started to push the temp and knock down his leaning jumpers in the key to rally Metlakatla. Cameron Cook came off the bench to add 12 first-half points, including a couple of 3-pointers from the baseline to help tie the game at 36 with 51 seconds left in the first half.

Down 40-38, Hayward provided some magic to close the first half. Rich Hayward took the inbound and whipped the ball around to Hayward, whose 30-foot jumper at the buzzer brought Metlakatla's fans to their feet.

The game stayed tight in the first half as Edwin and Lane scored for Angoon. Metlakatla's height advantage, however, started to make a difference in the rebounding category.

Many of Cook's 26 points and Mike Henderson's 18 points came from second and third chance tip-ins and put-backs.

"Our game is to run and when we get our fast break going, we can capitalize on the rebounding advantages and score," Henderson said.

Lane's 3-pointer with just under 13 minutes to play fired up Angoon's fans and gave his team a five-point lead.

Before Angoon could reach an errant pass, though, Hayward stepped in front of it and strode in for an uncontested jam.

Angoon tried to stem Metlakatla's momentum, but Hayward's dunk sparked his teammates' defensive intensity. Rich Hayward and Martinez both hustled for loose balls and sparked Metlakatla's fast break.

Angoon fell into foul trouble late as Guy Hunter and Levi Johnson both fouled out. In a show of great sportsmanship, Metlakatla's entire bench went to Angoon's fouled out players to shake hands and congratulate their efforts.

"We play these guys in lots of tournaments, not just this tournament," Lane said afterwards. "We're all friends and we don't really fight out there too much."

With eight minutes to play, Metlakatla took the lead at 71-67 and padded the advantage 82-74 with four minutes in regulation. Angoon mounted one final comeback by knocking down a couple of long 3's but good clock management by Metlakatla and a couple late Willie Hayward buckets sealed the win.

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