ANCHORAGE -- When the buzzer sounded, Keenan Prochazka and Andrew Buchanan strode toward each other, slapped hands and hugged at midcourt.
The Seward seniors shared the basketball floor for the final time in a 67-60 win over Mt. Edgecumbe in the game for fourth place Saturday morning at the Class 3A state tournament at the University of Alaska Anchorage's Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
It was the second victory in as many days for the Seahawks (22-5), who defeated Nome 53-50 on Friday after a 59-52 loss to Sitka in Thursday's opening round.
Buchanan hit 7 of 8 from 3-point range and finished with a game-high 29 points, and Prochazka added 13 points and eight assists as Seward overcame a 14-point deficit to finish the tournament 2-1.
"When you lose your first game of a tournament, it's extremely hard to come back and win two in a row like we did," Seward coach Dan Krier said. "When you do that, it's a sign of your character. I felt good about the character of this team all along."
The success of the 2010-11 Seward club started and ended with its two senior leaders, and it was no different at the state tournament.
In Saturday's win, Buchanan was unstoppable. Had he not picked up a fourth personal foul midway through the third quarter and sat on the bench until the beginning of the fourth, his point total may have been even higher. He also hit all four of his free throws.
The left-handed guard buried four 3s in the first half and two more to open the second, helping the Seahawks turn a 25-11 deficit into a 44-33 lead. He finished 9-of-10 from the field, adding two assists, three rebounds and three steals.
His seventh 3-pointer, which rattled in from the left wing with 1:25 to play, gave Seward a 63-57 lead.
Then there was Prochazka, who was 3-of-6 from long range but did even more damage by passing the ball. His eight assists were a game-high, and it was Prochazka who created for others while Buchanan sat on the bench with four fouls.
"We tried to control the ball because we were turning it over too much," Prochazka said. "Once we got it set up, we got good shots."
Mt. Edgecumbe took a 55-54 lead with 3:58 remaining, but Prochazka fed Jalen Terry for easy baskets under the hoop on the next two possessions. Then, with the score 58-55, Buchanan hit a floating jumper in the lane to bump the lead to five.
The Seahawks never trailed again.
"When we start hitting shots, people start keying on us," Buchanan said. "So once we penetrate, it opens things up."
Savion Waters and Zach Ivanoff had 18 apiece for the Braves, who shot 49 percent from the field. Seward hit 10 of 16 from 3-point range and held a 13-9 assists advantage.
The win came on the heels of a thrilling result Friday against Nome. Again, it was Buchanan and Prochazka who lifted the Seahawks.
Prochazka, who missed his first eight shots and struggled most of the game, hit a step-back 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining to cut Nome's lead to 49-48.
After Nome split a pair of free throws, making it 50-48, Buchanan took the ball on the right wing and elevated over a defender for a go-ahead 3 with 18 seconds to play.
He made a steal on the ensuing possession, drew a foul and hit both free throws. A desperation 3-pointer by the Nanooks clanked off the backboard as time expired. Buchanan finished with 15 points, again playing most of the second half with four fouls.
By beating Nome, Seward avoided elimination. The Seahawks fell behind 26-8 in the opening round against Sitka and couldn't get over the hump, despite trimming the lead to five inside the final minute.
The back-to-back wins were bittersweet because the players believed a state title was possible. Anchorage Christian Schools won the Class 3A state title Saturday after falling to Seward in the finals of the Southcentral Conference tournament on March 5.
"Not as planned, but it was good to go out with two wins," Prochazka said, reflecting on the run. "We brought it back together. The first game we were a little nervous, I guess. The next two games we just went out and played our game."
Not lost in the team's accomplishments is the production of Seward's role players. Jeff Buchanan, younger brother to Andrew, scored 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting and was named the player of the game against Nome.
Sophomore forward Jalen Terry pulled in 14 rebounds against Sitka and scored 10 points to go with nine rebounds. And senior Michael Thorn, undersized in the post, tallied 14 points and four rebounds in the win over Mt. Edgecumbe.
"If there's an unsung hero on this team, it's him," Krier said.
The Seahawks graduate six seniors, but none will be missed more than Prochazka and Buchanan. Both said they hope to play next season in college, but those destinations have yet to be finalized.
They were two of the last players to leave the locker room Saturday.
"Our sophomore year we were the role players and watched the seniors control the court," Prochazka said. "This year we wanted that role. We wanted to be the leaders and be the go-to guys and step it up."
Seahawks 53, Nanooks 50
Seward 15 9 19 10 --53
Nome 10 19 12 9 --50
SEWARD (53) -- A. Buchanan 5 2-2 15, J. Buchanan 5 0-0 10, Prochazka 2 0-0 6, Thorn 5 0-0 10, Terry 5 0-3 10, Lindquist 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 23 2-5 53.
NOME (50) - Blandford 5 0-1 11, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Leckband 4 10-12 19, Sullivan 6 3-3 18, Wehde 0 0-0 0, Eide 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 15 15-18 50.
3-point field goals -- Seward 5 (A. Buchanan 3, Prochazka 2); Nome 5 (Sullivan 3, Blandford, Leckband). Team fouls -- Seward 14, Nome 10. Fouled out -- Thorn.
Seahawks 67, Braves 60
Mt. Edgecumbe 9 22 15 14 --60
Seward 7 20 22 18 --67
MT. EDGECUMBE (60) -- Waters 6 2-2 18, Sherman 1 0-0 2, Ivanoff 6 4-4 18, Green 0 0-0 0, Melovidov 4 0-0 8, Hall 3 6-7 12, Frankson 0 0-0 0, Prince 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 21 12-13 60.
SEWARD (67) -- Prochazka 5 0-2 13, Lindquist 1 0-0 2, J. Buchanan 0 0-0 0, O'Leary 0 0-0 0, Dunn 0 0-0 0, Thorn 6 2-2 14, Clemens 0 0-0 0, Pullins 0 0-0 0, A. Buchanan 9 4-4 29, Terry 3 1-1 7, Perea 1 0-0 2.
3-point field goals -- Mt. Edgecumbe 6 (Waters 4, Ivanoff 2); Seward 10 (A. Buchanan 7, Prochazka 3). Team fouls -- Mt. Edgecumbe 11, Seward 14. Fouled out -- none.
Boys 3A all-tourney team
Wayne Holmberg, Galena
Tyler Adams, Barrow
Wesley Arnes, Anchorage Christian
Savion Waters, Mt. Edgecumbe
Shane Gilbertson, Monroe Catholic
Calvin Hoffman, Anchorage Christian
LaDarious Milton, Monroe Catholic
Bae Widmier, Sitka
Andrew Buchanan, Seward
Chris Voss, Anchorage Christian
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