By McKibben Jackinsky
The Nikolaevsk Warriors girls varsity team left home soil for the Mount St. Elias Classic tournament in Yakutat last week. In the Thursday-Saturday schedule of games, the Warriors held off the Angoon Eagles with a 57-23 score on Thursday; kept the Dimond Lynx JV team at a 59-54 distance on Friday, and ended the three-day tournament Saturday with a 55-28 victory against the Yakutat Eagles.
Kayla Stafford and Nianiella Dorvall were named to the five-member Girls All-Tournament Team. Sophia Kalugin was the St. Elias Classic Girls MVP.
Nikolaevsk’s Head Coach Bea Klaich said Kalugin was the top scorer in Thursday’s game with 22 points. Kalugin was followed by Dorvall with 20 points, Stafford with 12 points and Serafima Kalugin with three points.
The Friday game was a close one, with the Lynx pulling out the stops in the fourth quarter, but not enough to push past the Warriors.
“We got 25 points from the line. Free throws win games,” said Klaich. “Dimond was a very aggressive JV team with a lot of talent, but foul trouble hurt them.”
Three of the Dimond team fouled out, with only Kalugin hitting the foul wall for Nikolaevsk. With 19 points, Kalugin was the repeat top-scorer, Dorvall had 17, Stafford scored 13, Megan Hickman scored six points, Vera Fefelov and Kilina Klaich each had two.
“(Dimond) had four girls over six feet fall which was a good test for my post players,” said Klaich. “It was an up-tempo game and a lot of fun. ... Dimond made a push at the end, out-scoring us in the fourth quarter, but my girls kept their composure and came up with the win.”
In the battle against Yakutat, Dorvall led with 18 points and Kalugin scored 14.
The Mount St. Elias Classic Tournament began in 1994. This year’s participants included boys and girls teams from Angoon and Yakutat, the girls Dimond JV and Nikolaevsk teams, and boys Valley and Juneau JV teams.
The Nikolaevsk boys stayed close to home partly due to the cost of airfare and other traveling expenses, and “there are more boys teams in our conference, so we have more committed league games,” said Head Coach Steve Klaich.
This weekend, Nikolaevsk’s boys team travels to Newhalen for two days of basketball on Friday and Saturday. The Nikolaevsk girls hold down the home court, playing Newhalen at Nikolaevsk both days.
The remainder of January is almost non-stop basketball at the Warriors’ dome.