The Alaska Airlines Classic got its first two-time champion, reaching back to its roots for its piece of history.
The St. Raymond’s Ravens of the Bronx, New York, the tournament’s first champion in 1989, defeated defending champion East 80-65 in front of 3,500 fans at West High.
The Ravens did it by running into a hostile environment and coming out the champion.
East, ranked No. 15 in the USA Today Super 25 national rankings, had a soldout crowd on its side, but Anchorage fans had little to cheer about in the second half.
St. Raymond’s, ranked No. 23, overcame a five-point halftime deficit to take a 54-46 lead in the third quarter.
The Ravens took the lead because of two reasons: They penetrated the East defense for easy layups and constantly kept the T-bird offense from getting its easy baskets.
East senior guard Trajan Langdon scored a game-high 30 points, but he had to fight for each one. From the start of the second half, the T-birds had no offensive rhythm.
Langdon, a 6-foot-4 guard who has committed to Duke, responded mightily, scoring 17 points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.
For each East score, the Ravens responded with two. Senior Eric Harris forced Langdon to sweat for his points, while Ravens point guard Kareem Reid scored 22 of his 23 points in the final 16 minutes to power the St. Raymond’s offense.
In the second quarter alone, the teams combined for 23 free throws. For the game, there were 56 fouls and 78 free throws. Reid, who was the penetrating knife in East’s heart, sank 16 of 22 free throws.
East’s Mao Tosi, a 6-foot-6 junior, broke the tournament rebounding record by finishing the three-game event with 52. That broke the previous record of 39 set by Service’s Jeff Lentfer in 1990.