Chugiak's Colby Mitchell throws down two of his team-high 16 points during Chugiak's 56-53 Cook Inlet Conference loss to South on Feb. 7 in Anchorage. Mitchell's high-flying act was no match for South guard T.J. McKinney, who outscored Chugiak 9-2 down the stretch to lift his team to victory.
STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH
The Chugiak boys basketball team finally has something to rally itself around: revenge.
After his team fell 56-53 in a heartbreaker to South on Feb. 7, Mustangs forward Colby Mitchell said he's anxious to get busy on a second trip through the league schedule.
"We play 'em all over again," said Mitchell, who scored a team-high 16 points but netted just three in the second half as the Mustangs blew a 30-27 halftime lead.
"I took some dumb shots down the stretch," Mitchell said.
It wasn't so much that the Mustangs were taking wild shots, but that the Wolverines were knocking them down. South guard T.J. McKinney led all scorers with 24 points, getting his points on jumpers from downtown and slashing drives to the rim. McKinney scored South's final nine points of the game in an electric final three minutes that saw the senior outscore Chugiak 9-2 by himself.
"We just have trouble finishing," Mitchell said.
Although they wilted beneath McKinney's fiery finish, Mitchell said Chugiak's play in the first half was some of its best this season.
"I was pretty happy with the first half," said Mitchell, who kept the South fans entertained with a trio of first-half dunks.
Dylan Fullmer had 11 points for Chugiak, which also got nine from Greg Ghramm and seven from Nic Harris.
The game's final quarter was a tense affair. Chugiak rallied from six down to go up 51-47 with just 3:41 to go on Mitchell's three-point play. McKinney then pumped in back-to-back jumpers to put his team up 52-51, but Chugiak again responded with a huge hoop down low by Steven Puterbaugh. But McKinney's basket and two free throws were enough to hold of the Chugiak charge, as Mustangs missed their final four shots from the field.
Mitchell said this year's conference battle is far from over and said there's plenty of parity behind top teams West and Bartlett.
"We want to start our second round of things and get a positive record out of it," he said.