The Barrow Whalers bolted to a big first-quarter lead, gave most of it back, then rolled in the second half to earn an 81-46 victory over Nikiski on Thursday in the consolation bracket of the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic.
The Whalers scored the first eight points of the game and led by as many as 12 points a handful of times in the half. Every time it looked like Barrow might put the game away early, however, Nikiski responded.
The Bulldogs cut the lead to three points on a couple of occasions, and trailed 38-33 early in the second half before Barrow went on a 17-2 run in the third quarter to firmly take control.
Nine players scored for the Whalers, led by 20 points from Sasita Sika Unutoa’s 20-point effort. Aaron Brower-Leavitt added 10 points, Mark Clarence scored nine, and Aaron Stackhouse and Ethan Goodwin each added eight.
Barrow led 12-3 in the first quarter before consecutive 3-pointers from Nikiski’s Drew Handley and Seth Payne quickly cut the lead to 12-9.
Following a time out, Barrow scored the final nine points of the quarter to push the lead back up to 21-9.
Barrow still had a 35-24 lead with just over a minute remaining in the first half when Nikiski scored eight consecutive points, including a pair of technical foul shots by Braeden Porter.
A nice driving layup through traffic by Nikiski’s David Weathers cut the lead to 35-32 before Barrow’s Dwight Unutoa drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to regain some of the momentum for the Whalers.
After an early free-throw from Nikiski to start the second half cut the deficit to 38-33, Barrow scored the next 10 points and went on to dominate the second half. The Whalers outscored Nikiski 43-14 in the second half.
Porter scored 13 points to lead Nikiski. Charlie Chamberlain and Drew Handley each added 10 points.