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HomeSportPrep Hoops: Aryanna Watson’s 30 points help Service girls hold off Bartlett...

Prep Hoops: Aryanna Watson’s 30 points help Service girls hold off Bartlett 54-48 as youth movement takes center stage

Service’s Aryanna Watson lets one fly against South earlier this season. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

High school freshmen basketball players are typically on the C team, but not at Service. The youth movement has started early on the Hillside.

The school doesn’t have a C team because all the ninth graders are on varsity. And they aren’t just on the team – they are the team.

Led by Aryanna Watson’s 30 points, Service’s freshmen produced all the scoring in Tuesday night’s 54-48 home win over Bartlett in the Cook Inlet Conference.

Watson poured in 17 points in the fourth quarter to help the Cougars spoil a comeback attempt by the Golden Bears, who sliced a nine-point deficit in the final minute down to 50-48 with 12 seconds left.

But Watson sealed the deal as Service earned a split in the regular-season series with the Bears and pulled within one game of second-place Bartlett in the CIC standings.

She hit two free throws with 8 seconds left before intercepting a pass in pick-six fashion near midcourt and converting a layup right before the final buzzer to cap her big night and continue her superb nine-day stretch.

Watson has averaged 31.8 points in her last four games to fuel the team’s three-game winning streak.

Leia Silva added nine points and Rhianna Kochutin scored seven for Service, which outscored the Bears 24-20 in the fourth quarter.

CIC Girls Basketball

CIC TEAM OVERALL
10-1 Dimond 18-5
9-2 Bartlett 12-8
7-3 Service 11-9
5-5 West 7-11
5-6 Chugiak 10-9
4-8 South 9-12
3-8 Eagle River 4-13
0-10 East 1-14

TUESDAY
#4 Dimond 66, South 49
Eagle River 38, East 24
Chugiak 52, West 48
Service 54, Bartlett 48

Bartlett senior Avaya Stoute pumped in four 3-pointers and a team-high 19 points, including six points in the final 23 seconds to make things interesting at the end. Her and-1 runner off glass and corner 3 made it 50-48 with 12 seconds left.

Bartlett freshman Sina Maugaotega scored 13 points and senior Yatzary Encarnacion chipped in 11 as the Bears nearly dug themselves out of a nine-point fourth quarter hole.

Credit Bartlett guard Mariya Oliver for orchestrating the comeback bid. Her ballhandling under pressure and decision making kept the offense chugging.

In the first half, neither team could shake the other. The first quarter featured five lead changes and once Service built a 20-14 cushion Barlett got back-to-back 3s by Stoute and Encarnacion to tie the game 20-20.

Service’s Karlierose Lealaisalanos on the dribble. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Watson and Silva combined for 11 of the team’s 13 points in the second quarter. In the close seconds of the first half, Watson made a steal and drilled a corner 3 right before the horn as the Cougars took a 23-30 lead into the break.

Maugaotega, rocking pink kicks, got hot from downtown and buried three straight 3s, the last one tying the game 33-33.

That’s when Watson took over down the stretch, scoring 17 of her team’s final 24 points. She hit 3s, crashed the glass and used her driving game to get to the foul line.

The 5-foot-7 guard forced things a little early, especially on one play when she took on three defenders. But the freshman showed poise at crunch time, making big plays to lift her team to a big win.

Watson has a pure jumper, and many of her field goals barely drew iron. It was also rip city at the free-throw line, where she went 10-for-10.

BARTLETT (48) – Jackson 2, Encarnacion 10, M.Maugaotega 2, Stoute 19, Oliver 4, S.Maugaotega 13.

SERVICE (54) – Silva 9, Watson 30, Lealaisalanos 5, Kochutin 7, Leniu 3.

Bartlett 9 11 8 20 – 48
Service 10 13 7 24 – 54

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