John Erhart, Michael Roberts, Timothy Bennett, basketball, state basketball

From left, Tanana's Michael Roberts, Lumen Christi's Timothy Bennett, Tanana's and John Erhart dive for a stray ball during the ASAA state 1A boys basketball championship game on Saturday, April 3, at Palmer High School. Lumen Christi won 77-30. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Maudrey J Sommer of Tanana had an exciting run in the 1A Boys Basketball State Tournament. A one-point quarterfinal win and a two-point semifinal win were certainly feel good moments.

Unfortunately, the Cinderella run ended Saturday before Maudrey could put on the crown.

After thrilling victories on Thursday and Friday, Tanana was defeated by Lumen Christi 77-30 on Saturday afternoon as Maudrey ends the 2021 season as 1A runner-ups.

Still, the path to get there was quite the joy ride.

Tanana opened the tournament on Thursday with a 60-59 victory over Buckland. Tanana opened the game with a strong first quarter as they took a 22-12 lead. Tanana had to fight the rest of the way as Buckland attempted a comeback. Buckland managed to narrowly outscore Maudrey each quarter the rest of the way, but Tanana held one for a one-point victory. Savien Linnear led the way for Tanana with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and seven steals. John Erhart contributed 12 points, six rebounds, and four steals while Fred Nicholia Jr. added 11 points. Isaac Morgan chipped in four points and nine rebounds.

The semifinal game was just as exciting, except this time it was Maudrey that had to complete a comeback. With Tanana facing Tanalian, it was the latter that got out to a big lead by going up 17-9 after one quarter of play. From there, Maudrey began to fight back, outscoring Tanalian 18-14 in the second quarter to pull within four, 31-27 heading into the halftime break.

Tanalian appeared as though they’d be ending Tanana’s run in the semis after the third quarter. Tanalian got it together and outscored Maudrey 15-12 in the third to take a 46-39 lead into the final quarter of play. From there, Maudrey turned in an inspired comeback, outscoring Tanalian 20-11 in the fourth to take a 59-57 win and advance to the title game.

Anthony Kennedy led the way in that one, scoring a remarkable 27 points. Michael Roberts added 11 points while Linnear had another strong outing with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and five steals.

In the title game, however, it all came crashing down.

Things were competitive early as Maudrey was down just 17-10 against Lumen Christi after one quarter of play. From there, Lumen Christi simply took over, outscoring Tanana 23-6 in the second quarter, 29-10 in the third quarter, and 8-4 in the final quarter after the game went to a running clock. Erhart and Linnear led Tanana with seven points each, Morgan and Kennedy had six each, and Roberts added four points. Linnear had a game leading eight rebounds in the contest.

While the end result wasn’t what they wanted, Maudrey J. Sommer of Tanana still advanced all the way to the state title game in 1A. That accomplishment is something to be proud of and will forever be marked in the ASAA history books. More over, it’s a recognition well earned.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/hpisani91.