Kodiak’s five gave a valiant effort and nearly completed a miracle comeback Friday evening against Skyview.
Down by eight points with a minute left, the Bears rallied to force overtime, but were unable to keep the momentum as the Panthers clawed their way to a 61-54 Northern Lights Conference boys basketball victory at the Kodiak High School gym.
“I’ve heard some things about Skyview and I got to give them credit for hitting shots tonight,” Kodiak coach David Anderson said. “They shot a tremendous amount of threes tonight and with kids in their face. I can’t take anything away from their win.”
Skyview hit eight long balls, five from Nick Madrid, who tossed in a game-high 23 points.
Kodiak had beat Skyview 23 consecutive games dating back to the 1999-2000 season.
The Bears’ comeback attempt started at 1:02 remaining and Skyiew nursing a 51-43 advantage.
The Bears cut the lead to 51-49 on consecutive 3-pointers by Mitchell Tacata and Austin Cowley with 28 seconds left.
After the Panthers missed a pair of free throws with 22.7 seconds left, Cowley was fouled going to the rim and calmly sank both free throws to tie the game with 16.4 seconds remaining.
“Those were huge,” Anderson said.
Skyview had four shots within 5 feet of the basket to win the game, but missed them all.
Madrid gave the Panthers the lead for good at 53-51 on a pair of free throws just 42 seconds into the four-minute overtime period.
Kodiak pulled to within 56-54 on a Josh Obas drive with 2:38 remaining. The Panthers ended on a 5-0 run to hand the Bears their fifth straight NLC loss (1-5, 7-10 overall).
Cowley led Kodiak with 20 points, while Obas added 11 points.
Kodiak dressed only five players as Raphael Matautia, Brian Fangonilo, Tony Will, Elijah De Castro and Jemuel Medina sat out due to disciplinary reasons. They also did not play in Saturday’s nonconference game. The five are scheduled to play in next Friday’s game at Soldotna, Anderson said.
The Bears ended with only three players as Tacata and Mikel Garner fouled out in overtime. Tacata fouled out in the first minute of overtime, which meant Kodiak was a man down nearly the entire extra period.
Despite the loss, Anderson was thrilled with how the team competed with just five players.
“I couldn’t be prouder of five kids that played as hard as they did and never stopped,” Anderson said. “It tells a lot about the character of the team.”
Anderson chose not to bring up any junior varsity players to fill out the bench. He did have 10 players suited for Saturday’s game.
“I want them to all know that you get into trouble it effects the whole team,” he said. “Everybody that is in this basketball program, if you mess up the whole team messes up. If one breaks the chain we all break the chain.”
Kodiak broke a 12-all game in the second quarter and took a 24-21 halftime lead.
The lead traded hands several times in the third quarter as Skyview clung to a 39-37 advantage heading into the fourth.
The Panthers pulled ahead 44-39, before a pair of Josh Bezona free throws and an Obas trey cut the lead to 44-43. Skyview scored the next seven points, which was highlighted by Madrid’s final long ball to give the Panthers a 51-43 lead.
“From the get go to the end we played tremendously smart,” Anderson said. “The kids learned a lot tonight. I was pretty happy with the group.”
An 18-1 Skyview run in the second quarter was too much to overcome for Kodiak as the Bears fell 58-41 in a nonconference game on Saturday.
Tacata paced Kodiak with 12 points — all in the first half. The senior did not play in the second half.
The Panthers’ DJ Diaz netted a game-high 21 points.
Kodiak led 14-7 after the first quarter. Skyview then went on an 18-1 run to take a 25-15 lead, a lead it would never relinquish.
On Friday, Kodiak travels to Soldotna and then on Saturday plays Kenai. Both are NLC games.
PANTHERS 61, BEARS 54 OT
Skyview 12 9 18 12 10 — 61
Kodiak 12 12 13 14 3 — 54
Skyview (61) — Reynolds 2, McNamara 3, Symonds 3, White 2, Jones 12, Madrid 23, Penrod 7, McDonald 3, Diaz 6. FG — 22-63 (.349). FT — 9-16.
Kodiak (54) — Cowley 20, Obas 11, Garner 9, Bezona 7, Tacata 7. FG — 17-58 (.293). FT — 13-23.
Junior varsity — Kodiak 66, Skyview 35. Elijah Hiner 15 points for Kodiak.
C squad — Kodiak 69, Skyview 31. Fredrick Llorente 17 points for Kodiak.
PANTHERS 58, BEARS 41
Skyview 7 22 11 18 — 58
Kodiak 14 6 13 8 — 41
Skyview (58) — Reynolds 2, McNamara, Symonds 6, White 16, Jones 2, Madrid 7, Diaz 21, Penrod 2, McDonald 2. FG — 24-52 (.461). FT — 6-11.
Kodiak (41) — Cowley 6, Obas 2, Garner 4, Bezona, Tacata 12, Frick, Fogle 4, Caballa. FG — 17-67 (.253). FT — 2-4.
Junior varsity — Kodiak 74, Skyview 36. Jesse Swearingin 16 points for Kodiak.
C squad — Kodiak 63, Skyview 34. Fredrick Llorente 17 points for Kodiak.