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Whalers drop three at Holiday Classic

January 12th 2:11 pm | Tommy Wells Print this article   Email this article  

The Barrow Whalers didn't kick off the new year quite the way they had hoped this past weekend. Barrow dropped all three of its appearances in the Mt. McKinley Bank Holiday Classic in Fairbanks, including a thrilling showdown with rival Monroe Catholic on Saturday.

Featuring the two teams that have won four of the state's last five Class 3A state championships, Monroe Catholic edged Barrow in the tournament finale, 76-67.

The Whalers, backed by the play of point guard Travis Adams, took the early advantage in their matchup of the two perennial state powers. The Whalers knocked down a basket in the closing seconds of the first quarter and held a 21-19 lead.

The Rams answered the buzzer for the second quarter with a flurry. Monroe Catholic scored 10 straight points to begin the frame and quickly built a 29-21 cushion. Overall, MC posted a 24-8 run in the frame and held a 43-29 lead at the half.

Barrow didn't go down quietly. The Whalers came storming back in the second half behind the efforts of Adams, Sione Tuifia, Anthony Fruean and Brandon Matthews.

A recent University of Alaska Anchorage signee, Adams finished with 15 points — 13 of which came during the Whalers' torrid fourth-quarter barrage. Tuifua and Fruean both added 14, while Matthews pushed in 11.

Barrow opened the tournament with a tough 53-49 loss to Valdez. The Buccaneers rallied from a 34-33 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to claim the victory.

After falling behind by a 15-7 clip in the first period, the Whalers managed to recover over the ensuing two frames. They outscored Valdez by a 16-11 clip in the second and pulled to within 26-23 at the half. Barrow reeled off an 11-7 run in the third and went into the final eight minutes leading by one.

Valdez righted its ship in the fourth, scoring 20 points.

The loss to Valdez dropped Barrow into a second-round showdown with Grace Christian on Friday. Grace Christian claimed a 58-51 decision.

Despite the loss, Adams and Fruean both reached double figures for BHS. Adams led all Whalers in scoring with 15. Fruean chipped in 15.


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