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HomeSportPrep Hoops: Aryanna Watson hits buzzer beater as Service girls stun fourth-ranked...

Prep Hoops: Aryanna Watson hits buzzer beater as Service girls stun fourth-ranked Dimond for CIC championship; Bartlett snags third

Service’s Aryanna Watson with the game winner. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

She’s been touted all season as the next big thing in Anchorage girls basketball, and Aryanna Watson showed why Saturday night.

The Service freshman connected on a 17-foot jumper with 1 second left to supply a 39-38 upset over fourth-ranked Dimond in the championship game of the Cook Inlet Conference Tournament at West High School.

Watson finished with 16 points and scored all five points for her team in the fourth quarter, none bigger than the jump shot she rattled home to beat the buzzer and the top-seeded Lynx (22-6).

With her team down 38-37, Watson got the ball at the 3-point line and Dimond’s Maile Wilcox right on her hip. Watson dribbled left and then spun hard right and threw up a shot against good defense that banked off the backboard and hit the front of the rim before dropping in.

The Service bench players and coaches stormed the court to celebrate. This was the first time the Cougars had reached the CIC title game since 2006. Now they were champions.

The Cougars (18-9) beat Dimond for the first time in three meetings this season in the biggest game of the year. They did it with five freshmen, led by Watson, but not limited to. Fellow frosh Leia Silva and Karlierose Lealaisalanoa each scored nine points.

Lealaisalanoa’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter gave Service a 26-16 lead. Silva’s 3 made it 30-19 with 1:45 to play in the third.

Watson’s coast-to-coast layup to beat the third-quarter buzzer pushed the lead to 34-19 as it looked like Service would run Dimond off the court.

The 15-point spread was a surprise. So was the fact all-state guard Malie Wilcox was held scoreless for the first three quarters. But that changed in the fourth when she pumped in 12 points to pump life back into the Lynx.

Natalia Rodriguez got the comeback party started with a corner 3-pointer. Then Wilcox went to work, scoring in the post, on jumpers and finally converting the back end of a sweet give-and-go with Evan Hamey.

Hamey also assisted on Katie MacDonald’s bucket that pulled Dimond within 37-36. Then Hamey put the Lynx ahead 39-38 with a putback off an offensive rebound to give her 15 points.

Dimond had the ball up one with 10 seconds left but was called for over and back, which gave the ball back to Service.

And we all know what happened next. Watson showed she’s got next by hitting the biggest shot of her life.

SERVICE (39) – Ferran 2, Kochutin 1, Lealaisalanoa 9, Watson 16, Vanilau 2, Silva 9, Leniu 0.
DIMOND (38) – Ridgeway 0, Rodriguez 5, Hamey 15, Wilcox 12, K.MacDonald 4, Pederson 2, Goldsberry 0.
Service 13 8 13 5 – 39
Dimond 9 7 3 19 – 38

Ecstatic Service players celebrate with Aryanna Watson (right) after her shot to win the CIC championship. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Third-Place Game

Mariya Oliver furnished 15 of her game-high 17 points in the second half when Bartlett pulled away to post a 46-37 victory over West in the third-place game of the CIC Tournament.

Oliver had nine points in the fourth quarter alone, hitting five of her team’s 14 free throws as the Bears outscored the Eagles by 10 at the line.

Avaya Stoute knocked down two 3s and finished with 10 points while
Yatzary Encarnacion hit one trey on her way to scoring nine points.

West freshman Wednesday Bithow led her team with seven points.

BARTLETT (46) – Jackson 4, Avi.Stoute 4, Oliver 17, Bernard-Alli 0, Ava.Stoute 10, Encarnacion 9, S.Maugaotega 0, M.Maugaotega 2, Meno 0, Ireremia 0.
WEST (34) – Wyche 6, Bithow 7, Queen 5, Galang 3, Harris 5, Sallah 0, Lealaisalanoa 0, Misa 5, Timberlake 0, Taualii 3.
Bartlett 12 4 13 17 – 46
West 6 7 6 15 – 34

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