The Seldovia boys hoops team sure knows how to start a state tournament in style. Hopefully, they know how to finish one too.
Seldovia kicked off the Class 1A state boys basketball tournament with a classic, as they edged Selawik 81-76 in double overtime to advance to the winners bracket.
After a rest day today, the winners bracket starts Monday, when Seldovia faces Yakutat at 11:30 a.m. at the Sullivan Arena. It also puts the Sea Otters two wins away from playing in Wednesday’s championship game.
In a game that featured a total of 14 lead changes and six ties between the two teams in the fourth quarter and overtime periods, Seldovia had the final laugh with the go-ahead bucket with 2 minutes, 4 seconds, left, when Chance Haller put up a driving layup.
The basket broke a 73-all tie, as Seldovia outscored Selawik 11-6 in the second four-minute overtime period.
“It was too much,” Seldovia coach Mark Janes quipped. “I told them they had to keep their heads together, and play hard and play their game. Play to win, play not to lose.”
Given an early start to the day with an 8 a.m. matchup, Seldovia played the first game of the tournament.
Sophomore Aiden Philpot made the most of the opportunity, coming up with a big double-double, scoring 25 points and grabbing 20 rebounds.
“Our shots weren’t really falling, so we just kept doing what we usually do, crashing the boards,” Philpot said. “We just kept it up, just kept up our hustle.”
Philpot’s teammate Calem Collier led Seldovia in scoring with 27 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4 for 5 from beyond the arc.
After an already wild fourth-quarter battle, Robert Waterbury hit a clutch 3-pointer with 1:28 left in regulation that put Seldovia ahead 65-64.
“He comes off the bench, and he always puts one in,” Janes said. “It’s always time for him to take that first shot, to get it up there.”
Edward Kelly put Selawik back into the lead with a jumper with 35 seconds left, but Collier tied it up with a free throw seconds later.
“I was just excited,” Philpot said. “Robert Waterbury hit a giant 3, it was sweet. I was just like, screaming, it was awesome.”
In the final 30 seconds of both regulation and the first overtime period, Selawik attempted to get the final shot by holding the ball until the final seconds, but both attempts failed.
Collier iced the game in the final overtime frame with a steal and a layup with 47 seconds remaining that resulted in a seven-point Seldovia lead.
Janes said he was satisfied with his team’s ability to keep mental mistakes to a minimum in the late minutes.
“They have the physical ability to make all the other stuff happen, it’s about stopping mental mistakes,” Janes said. “They pulled through. It’s good.”
Seldovia turned the ball over 23 times, compared to 16 for Selawik, but were more efficient in their shooting with a 40 percent mark, while Selawik was 33 percent from the floor.
Selawik hammered the Sea Otters from beyond the arc, attempting 37 shots from 3-point land, but only hit six. William Knox was especially cold, only hitting two of 21 shots from beyond the arc. Knox notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards.
Meanwhile, Seldovia hit 9 of 17 from long range, and was 5 of 7 in the second half.
Nathan Lestenkof led Selawik with 20 points.
Sea Otters 81, Wolves 76
Seldovia 15 16 14 21 —81
Selawik 20 10 14 22 —76
SELDOVIA (81) — R. Waterbury 2 0-2 5, Sidibe 0 0-0 0, D. Waterbury 3 1-4 9, Collier 8 7-11 27, Haller 3 1-3 7, Philpot 10 3-6 25, O’Leary 4 0-0 8. Totals 30 12-26 81.
SELAWIK (76) — McCoy 3 0-0 7, Skin 0 0-0 0, Beylund 1 0-0 2, Foster 6 0-0 14, Foxglove 0 0-0 0, Knox 4 3-4 14, Lestenkof 8 4-4 20, Kelly 7 1-2 15, Ramoth 2 0-0 4. Totals 31 8-10 76.
3-point field goals — Seldovia 9 (Collier 4, Philpot 2, D. Waterbury 2, R. Waterbury 1); Selawik 6 (Knox 3, Foster 2, McCoy 1).
Team fouls — Seldovia 10, Selawik 20. Fouled out — O’Leary, Knox.