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HomeSportPrep Hoops: Top-ranked East’s trademark 3-and-D attack proves too much for third-ranked...

Prep Hoops: Top-ranked East’s trademark 3-and-D attack proves too much for third-ranked Service in CIC final; West nets third

East’s Akeem Sulaiman poured in 20 points Saturday night. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Championship games aren’t typically over by the end of the first quarter, but East’s Akeem Sulaiman called game early in Saturday’s Cook Inlet Conference Tournament title tilt.

His first two 3-pointers in the opening minutes got the T-birds off to a good start. His third triple a few minutes later gave East a double figure lead. His fourth trey of the first quarter essentially ended the game.

Top-ranked East (24-1) landed an early knockout blow en route to pounding third-ranked Service 58-41 at West High School for the team’s 16th straight victory.

Sulaiman, a 6-foot-4 all-state senior, scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter when the defending state champion T-birds turned a serious setting into a laugher. All-conference guard Michael George added seven points in the first quarter and finished with a dozen.

This was East’s 27th straight win over an in-state opponent dating back to last season, with the team’s lone loss this year coming to nationally ranked St. Joseph of California at the Alaska Airlines Classic. The last Alaska team to defeat the T-birds was Dimond in last season’s CIC title game.

Since then, East has squished the competition like a bug behind its trademark 3-and-D style. Saturday was more of the same.

East’s Muhammed Sabally drives past Service’s Toby Howard. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Sulaiman, who owns a dozen playoff games worth of experience, led the way as he drained his first two 3s to make it 8-0. George scored on back-to-back layups followed by Sulaiman’s third 3 as the lead swelled to 15-0.

Newly crowned CIC Player of the Year Muhammed Sabally didn’t have a big scoring night, but he didn’t need to. He floated around the court and fed shooters in good spots.

After the Cougars finally got on the board, East center Jal Tharjiath knocked down a 3. Then George made a triple.

Sulaiman crashed the glass for an offensive rebound putback and then moments later swished a step-back NBA-range 3 to make it 26-5 at the end of the first quarter.

Service (20-8) answered early in the second quarter with Toby Howard’s runner off glass and two free throws by Mackeenan Morgan, but then East sent in its second wave as Deng Deng and Melo Delaney came off the bench to keep the party going.

Service’s Toby Howard defends against East’s Melo Delaney. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Delaney, a springy sophomore who led all reserves with nine points, hit a jumper and added an offensive rebound putback as East’s advantage grew to 32-9. He added a free throw and two more post buckets.

East went up 45-21 following George’s and-1 after scoring on the back end of a give-and-go with Sabally. Later, Sulaiman hit two free throws as the T-birds doubled up Service 50-25.

Saturday’s struggles were a common theme when the Cougars faced East this season and they averaged 39.3 points in three losses.

Howard led the way with 12 points while Morgan had nine points and Cole Balmes and Dashaun Dillard seven apiece.

SERVICE (41) – Henderson 20, Balmes 7, Morgan 9, Zadra 0, Tautua 0, Dillard 7, L.Lockard 5, Gracey 1, Christophersen 0, T.Lockard 0, Kennedy 0, Howard 12.
EAST (58) – Contreas 0, George 12, Johnson 0, Roberts 2, Delaney 9, Riek 2, Sulaiman 20, Ozuna 0, Hill 0, Sabally 4, Deng 3, Tharjiath 6.
Service 5 14 6 16 – 41
East 26 8 16 8 – 58

ALL-CIC TEAM
POY: Muhammed Sabally, East
Toby Howard, Service
Marek Hadjukovich, Dimond
Lok Kulang, Bartlett
Akeem Sulaiman, East
Buob Marial, West
Mat Chuol, West
Michael George, East
Mackeenan Morgan, Service
Amelio Ambrosio, Dimond
Des’Laone Cook, West
Javonte Walls, Dimond
JP Castillo, South
Marquez Nevitte, Bartlett
Tanner Smith, South

Third-Place Game

Marcel Mikes and Des’Laone Cook each had four points in a critical third quarter run that powered fourth-ranked West to a 62-44 win over Dimond in the CIC Tournament’s third-place game.

The Eagles (18-9) outscored Dimond 21-8 in the third quarter as they beat the Lynx for the first time in three meetings this season.

Buob Marial and Mat Chuol each had 10 points to lead West while Cook added nine and Mikes eight as 11 players reached the scoring column.

The game was tied 9-9 after the first quarter and West took an 18-13 lead at the break.

Dimond (15-12) got 15 points from Javonte Walls and 13 from Amelio Ambrosio. The Lynx played without injured guard Marek Hajdukovich.

DIMOND (44) – Ambrosio 13, Taveras 4, Jav.Walls 15, Castro 0, Stovall 0, Wilson 7, Sosa-Carpenter 0, Odia 2, Young 3, Perry 0, Jae.Walls 0.
WEST (63) – Alexander 4, Mikes 8, Cook 9, Tharjiath 4, Muehlenkamp 6, Hardman 3, Marial 10, Chuol 10, Shein 2, Atonio 4, Muon 2.
Dimond 9 13 8 14 – 44
West 9 18 21 14 – 62

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