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State Boys Basketball Wrap-up

posted Mar 29, 2011, 11:15 AM by Mark Nance

By CRAIG GIAMMONA

Courtesy Daily Sitka Sentinel.

The Mt. Edgecumbe High Braves took sixth place at the state tournament, falling to Seward 67-60 Saturday at the University of Alaska Anchorage to close out the 2010-11 season.

The Braves lost to Anchorage Christian, the eventual champs, in the first round, then beat Galena Friday at Sullivan Arena to stay alive.

The Braves were up at the half over Seward, with a shot to finish fourth, but the Seahawks rode the hot hand of all-state guard Andrew Buchanon and controlled the final two quarters. Buchanon shot 7-8 from downtown and had 29 points.

“We didn’t play bad,” MEHS coach Archie Young said today from his Japonski Island office, when asked to assess his team’s performance at state. “I thought there were spurts when we played very hard and played the way we had all year.”

He added: “I thought our opponents did a good job of capitalizing when we weren’t (playing the way they had all year).”

The Braves’ hopes for a state title were dashed by ACS Thursday, but Young said it was still one of the better seasons for Mt. Edgecumbe basketball in recent years.

The Braves won the Region V title, and knocked off Juneau-Douglas in the crossover game to claim an outright Southeast title.

“I’m very proud of the boys, I think they should be proud of the season they put together,” Young said. “It’s one of the better seasons I’ve had. It’s something the kids and the alumni can be proud of.”

According to records printed in the official Alaska School Activities Association program for the 2011 state tournament, the Braves beat Lathrop to win a state title in 1959, the same year they last won the overall Southeast crown.

The Braves were led this season by two four-year seniors, Zach Ivanoff and Sean Melovidov, a pair of talented players who, Young said, will be missed.

“Having four-year seniors is extremely valuable” Young said. “Losing that type of leadership is a big impact to the program.

Young said he hoped some of the younger players on the Braves’ roster understood how much time Ivanoff and Melovidov had dedicated to the MEHS program. Senior Savion Waters was also a big part of the Braves’ success this season. He averaged 20 points a game at state and was named to the all-tournament team.

Seward 67, Braves 60

Seward, relegated to the losers bracket by Sitka High, beat Nome to advance to Saturday’s fourth-place game, which was held at UAA.      ASAA, in recent years, had experimented with holding all the games at Sullivan, but called on the UAA gym for fourth-place action Saturday.

Edgecumbe earned a spot in the game with a win over Galena Friday. The Braves started quick and held a 31-27 lead over the Seahawks after two quarters.

But with Buchanon feeling it, the Seahawks took the lead in the third quarter and stayed in front the rest of the way. The Braves were outscored by the Seahawks 40-29 in the second half. Young said he knew the Braves had to slow down Buchanon, but the guard got some good looks at the basket and shot 9-11 overall from the field.

“We emphasized staying with him, more than once,” Young said.

Waters and Ivanoff each had 18 points in the loss, and Dominique Hall scored 12. Sean Melovidov chipped in 8 points.

It was the final game at Mt. Edgecumbe for Melovidov, Waters and Ivanoff.

Braves 78, Galena 48
Less than 24 hours after their state title hopes were dashed by a tough Anchorage Christian School squad, the Mt. Edgecumbe Braves bounced back with a 78-48 win over Galena Interior Learning Academy to stay alive at the 3A boys state tournament.

Relegated to the consolation bracket after falling 59-42 to an athletic ACS team with a decided size advantage, the Braves rediscovered their high-energy brand of basketball Friday morning at Sullivan Arena and swamped Galena, a boarding school located on the north bank of the Yukon River, 270 miles west of Fairbanks.

The Braves had an 18-16 after the first quarter, but the Hawks mounted a 13-0 run to go up 26-18 early in the second frame. From there, it was all Mt. Edgecumbe. The Braves scored the next 27 points and took a 45-26 lead at the half. Galena could not handle Mt. Edgecumbe’s pressure, and the Braves attacked the basket off turnovers. The Braves pushed their margin to 64-34 after three quarters and did not look back, advancing to face Seward Saturday morning for fourth place.

The Braves never really found their footing against ACS, but they used to their speed to rout Galena.

“The energy was a lot better,” MEHS coach Archie Young said of the game this morning, adding, when asked about ACS. “We didn’t feel like we had energy at all. Just a half-step behind. We did a better job (today) in the full court of being aggressive.”

Young said the Braves took better shots this morning, and were stronger on the glass. ACS outrebounded Mt. Edgecumbe 29 to 18, but the advantage was 35 to 25 for the Braves this morning. Entering the game with ACS, Young had said he was concerned about the Lions ability to grab offensive rebounds. And the Edgecumbe coach’s fears seemed to be confirmed. But the Braves were much better Friday.

Zach Ivanoff led the Braves with 21 points and 11 boards.

“You never want to lose your last game,” the senior captain from Unalakleet said.

He added that the Braves were a bit nervous against ACS, and said the difference against Galena was “energy.”

Fellow senior captain Sean Melovidov, who has been under the weather, battled through another game and said he was happy to play another day. Asked if he was motivated by a desire for another state tournament game, his answer was straight forward.

“Of course,” Melovidov said. “Definitely.”

Savion Waters, another Mt. Edgecumbe senior, had a game-high 26 points, shooting 10 for 16 from the field and 4 for 8 from downtown. He added 6 steals to his line. Cody Sherman, Dominique Hall, Jaylin Prince and Melovidov each had 6 points and Calvin Frankson had 5. Bryan Nick came into the game late and got a steal to add his name to the scorebook.

Wayne Holmberg had 21 points and 10 boards to lead Galena. The Hawks were eliminated with the loss.

ACS 59, Mt. Edgecumbe 42
The Mt. Edgecumbe Braves ended up in the losers bracket after falling to ACS Thursday in the opening-round of the 3A boys state tournament at Sullivan Arena. The Braves were down 15-12 after the first quarter, but the Lions extended their lead in the second, outscoring the Braves 20-12 to go up 35-24. The dagger came at the buzzer ending the first half, with Gus Simmers nailing an off-balance three of the glass that put ACS up 9.

The Braves clawed back into the game in the third, cutting the Lions’ lead to 40-36. But ACS responded with the final 5 points of the frame to go up 45-36. And Simmers was the culprit once again, sticking a three as the quarter ended. The shot to end the second quarter was a prayer, but this time he got a good look at the basket and nailed a three from the top of the key.

ACS pulled away in the fourth and won by 17. Chris Voss led ACS with 20 points and 10 boards. Simmers had 19 on 8-13 shooting and Calvin Hoffman chipped in 16.

Savion Waters was the lone Egecumbe scorer in double figures, dropping 16 points. Ivanoff had 9 and Melovidov added 5.

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