Eagles fall in first round of Alaska tourney

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sports Editor

A  cold start matched the icy surrounding climate for Reserve Christian this past weekend as it participated in the Alaskan Airlines Invitational in Anchorage.

A poor shooting performance in the Eagles’ first round game led to the team’s elimination from contention for the tournament crown – RCS fell to Bartlett (Anchorage), 75-66.

Nevertheless, Reserve (32-5) did return with two wins in tow, after topping Wrangel and East Anchorage in consolation bracket contests.

In contrast with Reserve, Bartlett was red hot at the start of its Friday night opening round contest with the Eagles, hitting five of its eight total 3-point field goals in the first quarter. It led 19-14 after one quarter of play, and Reserve couldn’t seem to get over the hump.

“We really struggled to get back in it,” said Byrd. “I don’t know if it was the high altitude or something else, but we looked really sluggish and tired. You can’t expect to win like that against a good team, much less one that’s shooting so well.”

The Eagles finally caught up early in the fourth quarter, and were able to tie the score. But Bartlett started drawing fouls and getting to the line, where its players were deadly – Bartlett was 25-31 from the stripe. It scored a game-high 30 points in the final quarter to close the win out.

Courtney May led Bartlett with 23 points.

Ricardo Gathers scored 19 to lead RCS. Ed Gallina added 17.

(See EAGLES, Page 6A)

“It was really a disappointing loss. Ricardo played well, and Ed had a decent night, but nobody else stepped up,” Byrd said. “To go up there and not play our best game is tough to accept.”

So perhaps the team vented some frustration in its second game against Wrangel Saturday. The Eagles captured a 89-46 win.

After a similar slow offensive start – Reserve led 9-8 after a quarter – the Eagles wouldn’t be held under 25 points in any of the remaining three periods.

Chris Roussell scored 13. Cedric Jenkins scored 11, and Gallina scored 10.

The win did not come without a price though – center Ricardo Gathers was knocked out of the game in the third quarter with a broken bone in his hand.

“He’s probably going to miss about three weeks,” Byrd said.

Ryan Howell led Wrangel with 23 points.

The Eagles’ final contest came against East Anchorage, and RCS made sure that their early game struggles were left behind in Alaska. RCS scored 30 first quarter points en route to an 85-65 win.

Reserve led by 16 after a quarter and 21 at halftime.

Jenkins scored 17 of his game-high 36 points in the first quarter.

“We really played well. East Anchorage has a quality team,” Byrd said. “Cedric probably played his best game of the season.”

Jenkins and Gallina each were named to the All-Tournament team.