A few weeks ago, we looked back at Jeff Francisco’s amazing game-winning shot that handed the Kodiak boys the 1994 Joe Floyd Tournament title.
Today, let’s flashback to two other Floyd game-winners — Alf Pryor in 1996 and David Cratty in 2006 — that do not get as much attention as Francisco’s buzzer-beater.
Pryor was the point guard for the 1996-97 Kodiak boys team coached by Jeff Jones. He was also the Bears’ 3-point specialist, and the biggest shot of his career came on the first night of the 30th edition of the Floyd against regional rival Homer. With 8 seconds left in the contest and down two points, Pryor collected a pass from a driving Greg Kreta and launched.
“I saw it go up, and I thought, ‘This is Joe Floyd. Anything can happen,’” senior teammate Brian Fortune told the Daily Mirror in 1996.
The ball swished through the net, giving Kodiak a come-from-behind 61-60 victory. Pryor ended with seven points.
“My thoughts when I designed the play wasn’t for an outside shot,” Jones told the Daily Mirror. “It turned out a little better.”
Kodiak was down 15 points with six minutes left in the game. The Bears chipped away at the lead, and when Chris Kratt took a defensive charge with 58 seconds left, it gave Kodiak the ball only down by one. According to the Daily Mirror article, the Bears stalled for 45 seconds before Kreta drove to the basket and kicked the ball out to Pryor.
“That was the biggest assist in my whole life,” Kreta told the Daily Mirror.
Kodiak rode the wave of excitement and knocked off Barrow (59-37) and Monroe (58-46) to win its 12th Floyd title. The victory against 3A Monroe was even sweeter considering the Bears had lost to the Rams 86-40 during the 1995 Joe Floyd Tournament.
“It really motivated us because last year they kicked our butts pretty bad,” Pryor told the Daily Mirror.
Kreta combined for 45 points in the three games and was named the tournament’s most valuable player, while Pryor, Fortune, Terry Johnson and Eric Scarr-Pryor were placed on the all-tournament team.
The rest of the 1996 roster included Bryon Haggren, Reggie Gaetos, Mike Salem, Roy Benjamin, Chris LeDoux and Nathan Stephan.
A decade later, Cratty sent the Kodiak crowd into a frenzy when his 3-pointer from the right corner pushed the Bears past East Anchorage 57-56. The shot erased an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit and gave Kodiak its only win of the 2006 tournament.
Cratty’s Christmas miracle was in only his third game in a Kodiak uniform. He transferred that year to Kodiak High from North Carolina.
The soft-spoken Cratty didn’t have a lot to say in his postgame presser.
“Raivis (Strelnieks) threw me the ball, and I shot it,” he told the Daily Mirror. It was only Cratty’s second field goal of the game as he finished with six points. His final of two long balls triggered a massive celebration on the court.
“Kodiak basketball, there is no place like it in Alaska,” coach Ron Bryant told the Daily Mirror. “Our fans understand the game. They appreciate good hard basketball, and they reward us when something like that happens.
“That is probably the first buzzer-beater we have had in quite some time, so we were due for one, and it’s even greater that it came against East.”
Despite the loss, East still won the tournament with a 2-1 record. The Thunderbirds out of the Cook Inlet Conference took an 11-point lead into the final frame. Michael Thomas willed the Bears back, scoring seven of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Down 56-64 with 15.8 seconds left, Kodiak’s Curtis Catt corralled an East missed free throw and tossed the ball to Strelnieks, a junior foreign exchange student from Latvia. He dribbled up the court and dished the ball to a wide-open Cratty in the corner.
“Cratty is a good shooter,” Bryant told the Daily Mirror. “He is sort of a methodical shooter, but if he has time to get the shot off, more times than not, it’s going through the net.
“When he got that open, clean look, I knew it was gone. It was just a matter of watching to go through the net.”
Kodiak’s Catt and Thomas were placed on the all-tournament team.
The rest of the 2006 roster included Lucas Fried, Joel Alegado, Trevor Norton, Max Merick, Randy Diocares, Charlie Garcia, Michael Odell, Alex Sweeney and Jonovon Bryant.