By Van Williams
Classic Media Director
West’s backcourt of Xyomar Velez and Willie Zamora set the tempo to kickstart a strong start that carried the Eagles to a 55-42 win in the student body game over Lathrop on Day 1 of the Alaska Airlines Classic at West High.
Playing in front of nearly 2,000 students, West jumped out to a 10-2 keyed by Velez’s and-1. Zamora closed out the quarter with five straight points, including a 3-pointer.
The dribble-drive skills of Velez and Zamora keyed the team’s 56 percent shooting around the basket. Big man Julius Adlawan scored 11 points and forward Zach Nauls had six rebounds.
West’s only hiccup came in the third quarter when Adlawan just missed an alley-oop pass from Zamora. The botched dunk was the only black eye on an otherwise clean performance.
Zamora’s driving basket made it 24-8 early in the second quarter, but credit Lathrop for fighting back on the strength its 3-point shooting. Rylee Corbett and Jaylen Thomas each had two 3s to power a 15-12 run that got the Malemutes of Fairbanks within 38-27 in the third quarter.
Adlawan’s inside play highlighted West’s 10-4 run to close the third quarter, pushing West’s lead to 48-28.
Lathrop’s Earl Parker scored a team-high 15 points in part to 5-of-7 shooting from the foul line. He scored 10 of his team’s first 18 points.
Host West (4-4) moved into the Classic semifinals Friday night at 7:30 against the winner of East/Juneau-Douglas.
Lathrop fell into the loser’s bracket and will play a consolation game Friday at 3 p.m.
Lathrop Malemutes 6 12 14 10 – 42
West Anchorage Eagles 18 13 17 7 – 55
Lathrop – Parker 15, Thomas 11, Foley 0, George 6, Corbett 9, James 1, Beard 0.
West – Zamora 7, Shanahan 0, Sahr 4, Bement 5, Velez 11, Breland 6, Laxa 0, Adlawan 11, John 4, Nakoa 0, Brody 4, Nauls 3.