“Welcome to the Warrior dome,” the voice of Bea Klaich, head coach of the Nikolaevsk High School girls basketball team, boomed across Nikolaevsk School gym the evening of Jan. 2.
Full bleachers, thundering music and a strong current of excitement made it clear something big was about to happen. Indeed it was: the high school basketball teams’ battle against alumni teams.
“It’s the Warriors versus the Warriors,” said Klaich, who is in her eighth year coaching the girls team. Her husband, Steve, is in his 25th year coaching the boys team.
First up were the girls, with 11 players in eighth-12th grades, managed by Nadejda Gordeev. The alumnae team of eight, with high school graduation dates dating back as far as 1991 and as recent as 2011, kept the pace moving and their younger competitors scrambling for points. Less than two minutes into the first eight-minute quarter, the girls had scored two baskets, with nothing on the scoreboard for the alumnae. Finally, near the end of the quarter, the alumnae made their way to the board with a quick succession of three two-point baskets, ending the quarter with the high school team leading 11-6.
By half-time, the high school had claimed a 12-point lead with a score of 20-8. The spread between the two scores increased in the third quarter, ending with the high school team leading 39-12.
During the final quarter of the game, the high school team girls grabbed a 46-point victory to the alumnae’s 23 points.
Nikki Melkomukov was the lead point-getter for the alumnae, with 10 points, followed by Cassie Kalugin with seven. Top scorers for the girls team were Sophia Kalugin with 16 points and Nianiella Dorvall with 10.
The men’s alumni team hooted and hollered as the players were introduced, from the most recent grad — Andre Tipikin, class of 2012 — to Mavrick Kalugin, dubbed the “team patriarch.” Their show of good-natured dominance on the court continued through introductions of the high school team, as the older Warriors jostled their younger counterparts making their way onto the court.
“It’s age versus wisdom,” Klaich said, drawing a laugh from the mostly hometown crowd.
The tip went to the alumni, who made their intent to control the game clear by scoring a lightening fast four points within the first 30 seconds of the game. The high school team gave a strong reply, chasing the alumni team all the way to the end of the quarter and a score of 17-16, the alumni leading by a single point.
The high school team pushed its way ahead of the alumni in the early part of the second quarter, but then began losing ground and ending the first half of the game with a score of 34-27 in favor of the alumni.
In the third quarter, the alumni kept the pedal to the metal, maintaining their distance from the boys team and ending the quarter with a 58-46 lead.
Back on the floor for the run to the final buzzer, the alumni soared to a final 88 points, with the high school at 62.
Lead scorers for the alumni team were Chris Kalugin with 17, Andre Tipikin with 17 and Stephan Nikitenko with 12. On the boys team, Jaruby Nelson was the top point-getter with 24, followed by Felemon Molodih with 13.
With a quarter of a century at Nikolaevsk School, Steve Klaich said the Thursday game was a good opportunity to catch up with former students.
“As this is my 25th year teaching and coaching here, a lot of memories came to mind,” he said.
In December, the Nikolaevsk girls team took first place at the Cook Inlet Classic and the boys took third. Their schedule for the month of January includes:
Jan. 9-11: Girls at the Mt. St. Elias Classic basketball at Yakutat;
Jan. 17-18: Newhalen girls at Nikolaevsk, boys at Newhalen;
Jan. 20: Kodiak EES boys at Nikolaevsk;
Jan. 21: Nikiski JV boys and girls at Nikolaevsk JV;
Jan. 22: Nenana JV girls at Nikolaevsk JV;
Jan. 23-25: Nikolaevsk Warrior Rumble;
Jan. 28: Ninilchik girls and boys at Nikolaevsk;
Jan. 29: Lumen Christi girls and boys at Nikolaevsk;
Jan. 30: Nanwalek boys at Nikolaevsk.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.
Warriors vs. Warriors
Nikolaevsk High School vs. Alumni
Jan. 2 – Nikolaevsk High School
Nikolaevsk High School 46, Alumnae 23
Girls team (name, grade): Kilina Klaich, 11; Kristin Klaich, 8; Veronica Jones, 11; Vera Fefelov, 8; Sophia Kalugin, 12; Kayla Stafford, 10; Serafima Kalugin, 10; Anastacia Dorvall, 8; Nianiella Dorvall, 12; Megan Hickman, 10; Kikilia Kojin, 12.
Alumnae team (name, year graduated, where residing): Sarah Holub, 2011, Nikolaevsk; Sata Frolov, 1991, Oregon; Tina Fefelov, 1991 honorary graduate, Nikolaevsk; Ducia Fefelov, 1998, Nikolaevsk; Cassie Kalugin, 2010, Nikolaevsk; Alexandria Kalugin 1995, Moscow, Russia; Nikki Melkomukov, 2005, Homer; Emily Bailey, 2009, Nikolaevsk, going to school in Texas.
Nikolaevsk High School 62; Alumni 88
Boys team (name, grade): Kalenik Molodih, 8; Sergey Yakunin, 8; Anfim Kalugin, 8; Nikit Fefelov, 9; Nicetas Lasiter, 10; Greg Trail, 10; Neil Gordeev, 10; Felemon Molodih, 10; Jonah Fefelov, 10; Jaruby Nelson, 11; Anthony Yakunin, 12.
Alumni team (name, year graduated, where residing): Mark Fefelov, 2011, Nikolaevsk, attending Georgetown University; Eric Tutt, 2006, Homer; Joel Tutt, 2006, Homer; Jonah Yakunin, 2010, Nikolaevsk, attending University of Alaska Fairbanks; Stephan Nikitenko, 2005, Washington, D.C.; Anatoli Fefelov, 2012, Nikolaevsk, attending University of Alaska Anchorage; Blake Klaich, 2012, Nikolaevsk, attending Bob Jones University, South Carolina; Chris Kalugin, 2010, Nikolaevsk; Sam Kuzmin, 2003, Homer; David Ivanov, 2010, Homer; Mavrick Kalugin, 1991, Moscow, Russia; Andre Tipikin, 2012, Nikolaevsk.