East’s improbable run ended with a near-miracle when the Thunderbirds finally met the toast of the Alaska Airlines Classic.
The T-birds, who pulled off history twice in this tournament, almost pulled off the biggest upset in Alaska high school basketball history before dropping a 61-58 thriller in the tournament’s championship game in front of 3,500 screaming fans at West High.
It also proved that East can give the seventh-ranked team in the nation a run for its money.
The T-birds had a chance to tie the game on the last shot and held the ball for the last 30 seconds of the game to set up a tying 3-pointer.
But it never happened.
East deserved a ton of credit they were there at the end. In fact, they had the lead with 1:58 left after Jumoke Horton scored on a rebound after a free-throw miss by Mark Schweigert.
That’s when Oak Hill’s spectacular point guard, tournament MVP Jeff McInnis, took over.
The North Carolina commit raced down the court and drove to the hoop against the 6-foot-8 Horton, sank the jumper and made the free throw on the foul to give Oak Hill a 59-58 lead with 49 seconds left.
East’s Trajan Langdon and Howard Combs each scored 18 points. Chris Davis led Oak Hill with 17 points while McInnis had 15.