After winning the Las Vegas Live Gold Bracket the Alaska D1 Ambassadors entered the second of back to back events in the Desert Southwest with great expectations. And why not? They have continued to mesh together every game, players are beginning to understand their roles, their confidence is building and their help defense is continuing to improve.
Alaska D1 Ambassadors 77 Stockton (CA) 57
If games were won in the layup line, Stockton might have had a chance. Their pregame dunking warm up was impressive, meanwhile Alaska D1 warmed up in a more conventional manner and when the dust settled they had a 20 point win. 2021 Patrick McMahon (Palmer, AK/Colony) had 26 points to lead all scorers. 2020 Terrell Peter (Fairbanks, AK/West Valley) chipped in with 11 as Alaska D1 cruised.
Alaska D1 Ambassadors 75 Sacramento SSE (CA) 54
Depth and balanced scoring is really allowing Alaska D1 to prosper. This game featured 4 players in double figures, led by 2020 Aidan Ivanoff (Unalakleet, AK) who had 13 points including an emphatic dunk. 2021 Patrick McMahon had 13 of his own, while 2020 combo guard Jalen Freeman (Valdez, AK) had 12 points as did Terrell Peter.
Alaska D1 Ambassadors 88 West Aberdeen (WA) 27
In their last pool game, an 08:00 AM start no less, Alaska D1 just demolished the Washington team. There was no grandstanding, or pressing, just solid play and a running clock for 2/3 of the game otherwise it would have been more insulting.
Again there was balanced scoring with 3 players in double figures. 2020 Aidan Ivanoff is improving game by game. He brings an energy to the second unit, again getting his dunk on with two flushes and his high energy defensive work on the boards just wears the opposition out. 2020 Jaren Carle (Anchorage, AK/Dimond) knocked down five triples, finishing with 17 points and 2020 PG Isaiah Moses (Anchorage, AK/Dimond) added 13 points and dropped numerous dimes to his team mates.
Saturday night bracket play began, With their perfect 3-0 record in Pool Play, Alaska D1 earned a trip to the platinum bracket. It is now time to WIN or go home.
1st Round: Alaska D1 Ambassadors 68 Hawaii Raiders 65
Alaska D1 received 28 points from 2020 PG Isaiah Moses (Alaska, Ak/Dimond). They needed every one of them, including his pro style step back 3 at the buzzer being the winner. Big time! 2020 G Brendon Matthews (Barrow, AK) had his best game of the tournament with 9 points, and every one of them was needed.
Quarter Final: Idaho Select 62 Alaska D1 Ambassadors 54
Out of 152 teams, the Alaska D1 Ambassadors finally bowed out of the Las Vegas in the Sweet 16 to Idaho Select which ended up winning the championship. Alaska D1 gave them the best run of the tournament but they were simply too big and skilled on the front line going 6'8" plus in their front court.
Alaska D1 battled them tough the entire way, having the lead for much of the game before rebounding sealed their fate. 2021 Patrick McMahon continues to shine as he had 17 points to lead his team. Jalen Freeman chipped in with 10 as he was the only other D1 player in double figures.
Alaska D1 finished the tournament going 4-1, coupled with their 6-1 performance at the other event for an overall record of 10-2. Very impressive performance all around.
Another club basketball season ends. It was my pleasure to spend a week not only watching hoops but living at the house with our Alaska team with and it's coaches.
The team went 10-2, winning the Las Vegas Live event. Phenomenal showing. More importantly I got to know these players. They're all high character and their academics are solid to excellent. I'll be happy to advocate for any of them as they pursue their college dreams.
Most folks only see the basketball side but there is so much more to the success of a 2 week trip like this. Not only do the players require monitoring, they have to be fed, the house cleaned, cooking. You name it. Not easy for 15 people. Coach Perez ran a great ship and he cooked breakfast every day. Coach Pidduck was the van driver, I washed the dishes and Arizona Joe did the laundry, cleansed the house and was such a positive person. Every morning the players personal laundry and clean uniforms were laid out for them and neatly folded.
As Founder of this program I was proud to have them represent me and to add to the legacy of this storied program. I won't forget this week. Thank you players and coaches.