Even with an overtime period, the Cook Inlet Academy boys basketball team just didn't have enough clock to work with Saturday, losing to the Maudrey J. Sommer school of Tanana 68-64 in the fourth-place game of the Alaska School Activities Association State 2A Basketball Championships at Service High School in Anchorage.
Indeed, regulation was just barely long enough for the Eagles, who got a 3-pointer from Calder Hillyer with just under 10 seconds to play to tie the game at 55 and force the extra period.
Tanana edged ahead in the four-minute overtime, and when the Eagles were forced to start fouling to stop the clock, the Wolves stepped to the line and hit their foul shots to secure the win.
"We got off to a slow start," CIA's Chet Nettles said of the 32-20 deficit the Eagles faced at the half. "In the first half, we were settling for what they gave us and not trying to work it around and work the ball inside. No one was hitting their outside shots, so that wasn't working."
In fact, the Eagles shot 9-for-30 from the floor, including an 0-for-10 effort from beyond the 3-point line, in the first half. On top of that, the Wolves out-rebounded CIA 42-27 for the game, meaning that the Eagles were getting very few second chances while they were giving up plenty to Tanana.
CIA opened the second half with an aggressive man-to-man press, though, and made up the 12-point gap by the end of the third quarter, tying the score at 40 to start the final period of regulation.
Shots started sinking from the outside for the Eagles in the second half, and between some steals by Nettles and Stephen Staton for easy layups and some spectacular passing, CIA was able to get some scoring from in close as well.
"It's easy," CIA's Jacob Peterson said of finding a good look at the basket. "Chet will find you if you're open. Just look for the ball and he'll find you if you're in a position to score."
Hillyer found his range in the second half as well, scoring four of his treys in the second half and one in overtime. Hillyer said that the final play of regulation was intended to go his way if Nettles wasn't open, and his attempt from the right wing hit nothing but net.
"(CIA coach Tim) Keener has been letting me shoot those along the way," Hillyer said. "I was on today. I like (getting the ball under pressure). I was having fun because I was making a lot of those shots."
Hillyer also caught the eye of Tanana coach Mike Blewitt, who had prepared a box-and-one defense to stop Nettles if he had heated up.
"No. 31 -- I don't even know what his name was -- but he killed us. He made big shot after big shot," Blewitt said. "Nettles is a nice player. I like the way he passes the ball and the way he sets things up. We knew about him, but we didn't know about (Hillyer)."
Hillyer's performance did mark a passing of the torch for the Eagles. Nettles, the team's only senior, has been the go-to guy for the Eagles all season, but Hillyer's shooting performance might be a glimpse of what to expect from the Eagles next season.
"Chet had some great moments this year," Keener said. "He was feeling down after he fouled out (with three seconds left in overtime). I told him that now he could start thinking about college basketball. Wherever he goes, he's going to have some more great moments there, and this will just be something that happened along the way.
"As for the younger guys, I hope they remember this and use it as motivation to work much harder for next season. I always tell them, 'There's always another basketball game to play.'"
WOLVES 68, EAGLES 64 OT
CIA 6 14 20 15 9 -- 64
Tanana 11 21 8 15 13 -- 68
COOK INLET ACADEMY (64) -- K. Nettles 0 0-0 0, Staton 0 2-2 2, C. Nettles 9 2-2 23, Myers 2 0-1 4, Hillyer 8 0-0 21, Peterson 5 0-0 10, Franchino 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 26 4-5 64.
TANANA (68) -- An. Marks 0 0-0 0, Hyslop 2 1-3 5, Sam 7 6-8 22, Fliris 0 0-0 0, Albert 5 2-4 15, Ar. Marks 10 6-8 26. Totals -- 24 15-23 68.
3-point goals -- CIA 8 (Hillyer 5, C, Nettles 3), Tanana 5 (Albert 3, Sam 2). Total fouls -- CIA 20, Tanana 9. Fouled out --Staton, C. Nettles.
Cook Inlet Academy 63, Matanuska Christian 41
Cook Inlet Academy defeated Matanuska Christian in the consolation semifinals Friday to earn a berth in Saturday's fourth-place game.
The CIA Eagles led by just a point, 16-15, after the first quarter, but began pulling away after that.
Chet Nettles scored 28 points the lead the CIA squad while Calder Hillyer connected for 11 points and Luke Myers added seven points. Justin Franchino grabbed six rebounds in the game.
Arlon Mangeau led Matanuska Christian with 16 points.
CIA EAGLES 63, MATANUSKA CHRISTIAN EAGLES 41
CIA 16 14 13 20 -- 63
Matanuska 15 9 8 9 -- 41
COOK INLET ACADEMY (63) -- K. Nettles 1 0-1 2, Staton 3 1-2 7, C, Nettles 9 8-11 28, Agosti 0 0-0 0, Myers 3 0-0 7, Hillyer 5 0-1 11, Peterson 2 0-0 4, Powers 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Franchino 1 2-2 4. Totals -- 24 11-17 63.
MATANUSKA CHRISTIAN (41) -- Epperson 1 0-0 2, Martin 0 0-0 0, Unfreid 1 0-0 3, Kelly 5 1-3 11, Gedicks 3 0-1 7, Rowland 1 0-0 2, Mangeau 8 0-6 16. Totals -- 19 1-10 41.
3-point goals -- CIA 4 (C. Nettles 2, Myers, Hillyer), Matanuska 2 (Unfreid, Gedicks). Total fouls -- CIA 11, Matanuska 18. Fouled out -- Gedicks.
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