By Van Williams
Classic Media Director
In a battle between Anchorage’s two oldest high schools, the East T-birds outscored the West Eagles 23-15 from the free-throw line to pave the way to a 68-62 victory in the third-place game of the Alaska Airlines Classic at West High.
Deshawn Rushmeyer went 10-for-11 from the foul line on his way to scoring 18 points and earning a spot on the all-tournament team. Akeem Sulaiman – another all-tournament pick aided by his record-breaking 8 blocked shot performance against Higley (AZ) — added 15 points and six rebounds.
Muhammed Sabally scored 14 points and Jal Tharjiath grabbed seven rebounds, four coming on the offensive end. The T-birds (8-1) won the battle of the boards 25-21, including a 13-9 advantage on the offensive side, leading to second-chance points and trips to the line.
With East nursing a 46-44 lead late in the third quarter, Sabally scored and freshman Braeden Speakman converted a fastbreak layup to provide some cushion. In the fourth quarter, Rushmeyer scored six straight points and Sulaiman swished a 3-pointer as the East lead swelled to 59-47.
The game was back and forth early before East started to create some distance. Xyo Velex drilled a 3-pointer to make it 33-22 and the T-birds looked to take a 40-25 lead into halftime but made a turnover with only a few seconds on the clock. Just enough time for a Hail Mary heave.
Duey Cook delivered, draining a halfcourt 3-pointer that sparked the Eagles in the second half.
West’s Julius Adlawan took over the third quarter, pumping in 13 of his team’s first 17 points. He finished with a game-high 27 points. He converted an inside move thanks to great footwork to get West within 46-44. It was a theme for him as he showcased a variety of post moves.
Later, WIllie Zamora and Aarion Alexander tried to bring the Eagles (4-3) back and combined for 13 straight points for their team. Alexander’s three-point play got West within 61-57 and Zamora’s 3-pointer made it 63-60.
East closed it out thanks to a Victor Meza drive and free throws by Sabally and Sulaiman.
East 16 24 10 18 – 68
West 14 14 17 17 – 62
EAST – Velez 5, Meza 8, Rushmeyer 18, Cooper 0, Sulaiman 15, Speakman 5, Sabally 14, Fox 0, Tharjiath 3.
WEST – Alexander 5, Mikes 0, Cook 9, Zamora 11, Fritz 0, Laxa 0, Adlawan 27, Choul 7, Marial 3, Moun 0, Falealo 0.