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HomeSportPrep Hoops: Petersburg gets defensive, knocks off top-seeded Hooper Bay in 2A...

Prep Hoops: Petersburg gets defensive, knocks off top-seeded Hooper Bay in 2A boys state final

Petersburg coach Rick Brock (far right) celebrates with his players after winning state. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

A little pain at the beginning of the season paved the way for the Petersburg boys basketball team to experience ecstasy at the end.

Early losses served as growing pains that later helped the Vikings sprout from pretenders to contenders, a journey that culminated on Saturday night.

Petersburg pulled away in the second half to beat top-seeded Hooper Bay 41-33 in the Class 2A boys state tournament title game at the Alaska Airlines Center.

A crowd of 3,500 watched the Vikings win their second championship since 2017 and fourth in school history dating back to 1929.

Southeast Alaska has long been a hoops hotbed in The Last Frontier and Petersburg coach Rick Brock credited his league for whipping his players into championship form.

“Our league prepared us for this,” Brock said. “I always say the Southeast from top to bottom is the toughest conference. Every single weekend was a battle.”

2A Boys All-Tournament
Daniel Harrison, Wrangell
Johnny Soderstrom, Unalakleet
Kade McCorison, Ninilchik
Latrell Lake, Hooper Bay
Brody Booth, Metlakatla
John Itliong, Cordova
Hunter Conn, Petersburg
Hendrick Cumps, Petersburg
Felipe Lopez, Cordova
Paxson Commack, Unalakleet

Petersburg (18-10) finished the season on a seven-game winning streak, getting hot at just the right time of the year.

The Vikings used a strong defensive effort in the second half to prevail, turning a close contest into a comfortable win.

Brock estimated one-third of his team’s games came down to the final two minutes. That experience paid off in a big way in Saturday’s title tilt as his players were calm, cool and collected down the stretch.

“At the beginning of the year we were losing those games and then as the season went, we started winning,” Brock said. “Got some things figured out.”

In the championship game, Hendrik Cumps led the way with 14 points and 14 rebounds while Kieran Cabral added 11 points and five assists.

Petersburg’s Kieran Cabral drives on Hooper Bay’s Jerome Nukusuk. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Cumps scored eight of his team’s 10 points in the third quarter when Petersburg seized control. His fastbreak layup made it 28-24 and later added another post bucket on a nice lob pass as the lead ballooned to 33-34.

Cumps was big in the third quarter, but the team’s defense played a bigger role as the Vikings held Hooper Bay to just two points in eight minutes.

“We hang out hats on defense,” Cumps said. “That’s our signature. That’s why we win games.”

Cumps was named player of the game but said it was a team award.

“Our whole roster is the player of the game,” he said. “We all contribute. We all play our roles perfectly. We’re not built on one person or two people, it’s a whole team. It really is.”

Petersburg reached the title game after knocking off defending state champion Ninilchik in the first round, upsetting No. 2 Cordova in the semifinals and No. 1 Hooper Bay for the crown.

Hooper Bay’s loss ended its 16-game winning streak. The Warriors were led by all-star Latrell Lake, who piled up nine points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Hooper Bay’s Latrell Lake lets one fly over Petersburg’s Hendrik Cumps. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Hooper Bay outscored Petersburg 24-3 from 3-point range, getting bombs from Carson Long, Billy Smith, Cimiun Bunyan, Michael Hoelscher and Lake.

Smith’s leak out layup tied the game 16-16 early in the second quarter and Lake’s 3 in transition off a feed from Bunyan gave Hooper Bay a 22-20 lead at halftime.

In the fourth quarter, Lake fed shooters Long, Hoelscher and Smith for 3s. The last one made it 38-33.

HOOPER BAY (33) – Long 9, Joe 0, B.Smith 5, D.Nukusuk 0, Bunyan 5, J.Nukusuk 2, E.Hoelscher 0, Bell 0, Olson 0, Lake 9, T.Smith 0, M.Hoelscher 3.
PETERSBURG (41) – Tucker 0, Cabral 11, Tow 0, Pawuk 3, Kittams 0, Whitacre 8, Ware 0, Knudsen 0, Cumps 14, Conn 5.
Hooper Bay 11 11 2 9 – 33
Petersburg 10 10 10 11 – 41

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