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Battle of the Bridge 2

posted Mar 1, 2011, 10:19 AM by Mark Nance

By CRAIG GIAMMONA
Daily Sitka Sentinel

Each time the Sitka High Wolves made a run, the Mt. Edgecumbe Braves responded with one of their own.
The Wolves clawed back into the game three times Feb. 22 at B.J. McGillis Gymnasium, keeping the Bridge Battle game close in front of a raucous crowd on senior night at  Mt. Edgecumbe.

But the Wolves could never quite get over the hump. The final Edgecumbe run came with just over three minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

A strong drive by Devan Romine had put Sitka within 4 points at 53-49, but a 7-0 run by the Braves iced the game and MEHS held on for a 60-51 win, closing out the Southeast regular season 12-0.

“For us, I felt like we didn’t play exceptionally well, but we did a good job responding to their runs,” MEHS coach Archie Young said.

The win locked up the top seed at regionals for the Braves, who will have a first-round bye when the tournament opens next week in Juneau. They’ll play the winner of the first-round game between Craig and Wrangell, with a clear path to the 3A Southeast championship game. Mt. Edgecumbe last won a Region V title in 2005.

The game began with a celebration of Mt. Edgecumbe’s three seniors: Savion Waters, Zach Ivanoff and Sean Melovidov.

Ivanoff and Melovidov are four-year seniors and veterans of Young’s program. Waters, a deft point guard from Anchorage, is new to MEHS this year, and has brought tremendous quickness to the Braves’ backcourt.

Ivanoff led the Braves Tuesday night with 17 points and the wing player from Unalakleet was all over the court, making steals, grabbing rebounds and getting out in transition for the Braves.

“What a great game for the last game on our floor,” Young said of Ivanoff. “To me, he’s one of the better players in our league.”

Waters had 16 points for the Braves, while Travante Williams added 15.

The game began at a frenetic pace as the Braves surged to a 30-18 lead in the second quarter. With Edgecumbe threatening to pull away, the Wolves mounted their first rally late in the second quarter, knocking down three straight threes to end the half. Michael Matz hit two, and Romine added another as the half ended with Sitka trailing 33-27.

After a Sitka bucket to start the half made it 33-29, the Braves pushed their lead back to 9 points at 38-29. The Braves took their biggest lead of the night in the third at 45-34, before the Wolves made their second major push. John De La Cruz scored a nice bucket in the lane off a pass from Bae Widmier to end the third quarter, leaving the score at 47-43.

The gym was alive as the fourth quarter opened, but the Braves, focused on an undefeated regular season, didn’t seem interested in allowing a Sitka comeback. They pushed their lead to 51-43, before a 6-2 Wolves run left the score at 53-49 with about 3:30 on the clock.

The Braves took control of the game from there. The dagger was a bank three by Waters from the wing that put Edgecumbe up 58-49. After a Sitka turnover, Williams nailed a pull-up jumper from about 16 feet and Edgecumbe equaled its biggest lead at 60-49 with 1:20 to play. One final Sitka bucket was all that remained and the final was 60-51.
  
The Braves now have a week off before the Region V tournament. Coach Young said he gave his players today off, not to celebrate the completion of an undefeated season, but because they need a break before the final push toward regionals.

“I think we can get better in the next week,” Young said.
  
Mt. Edgecumbe finished the regular season 18-3 overall and has not lost to a 3A school this year.

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