Three southern Kenai Peninsula teams — the Seldovia Otters boys team and the Nikolaevsk Warriors girls and boys teams — have made their presence known at the 32-team 1A State Basketball Championships in Anchorage.
The Seldovia Otters’ were on a six-game winning streak, including tournament victories against Selawik on Saturday, a double overtime nail-biter that ended in a score of 81-76. On Monday, they took on Yakutat, and claimed their second tournament win, 55-47. Tuesday’s 42-37 loss to Toksook Bay took them out of the running for state champs, but still gave them a shot at third place.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Seldovia Head Coach Mark Janes said of the Otters’ performance this season.
“They’ve really stepped up and done a great job. … I don’t think anyone, including them, expected them to be here.”
Tuesday’s loss put the Otters into a battle for third place against Shaktoolik at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Results of that game were not available by press time.
After a flawless season, the Nikolaevsk girls’ 43-42 loss to Buckland on Saturday was “extremely disappointing. I was glad we had a day off Sunday to regroup,” said Head Coach Bea Klaich.
“Considering the circumstances, my girls are handling it well. They are a resilient group of girls.”
The Warriors claimed a 12-7 lead early in the game and Klaich said she was “feeling pretty good about things until they went on a scoring rampage against us. They hit three three’s in a row in the second quarter and out-scored us 17-6.”
By halftime the Nikolaevsk girls were down eight points.
“My girls were a little stunned,” said Klaich.
“You have to understand that we’d never seen this team play before and knew very little about them.”
The Warriors rallied, closing the gap and trailing by only one point as they went into the fourth quarter. Then senior Sophia Kalugin, described by Klaich as a “tough rebounder,” suffered a kick to the leg that took her out of the game.
With about four minutes remaining, Nikolaevsk had a six-point lead, but then missed some crucial free-throw shots and some turnovers.
Klaich called her last timeout and drew up a play that would have secured the Warriors’ victory had the clock not run out.
“It was a tough loss right out of the gate,” said Klaich.
The Warriors regained their winning rhythm in the consolation tournament, beginning with a 69-32 match against Kake on Monday and continuing with a 46-36 victory against Alak on Tuesday. They were scheduled to play the Cook Inlet Academy Eagles, a team the Warriors played and beat to take first place in the Peninsula Conference tournament earlier this month, in the consolation championship Wednesday morning.
The Nikolaevsk boys team also has battled its way through the state consolation tournament, after a 73-41 loss to Klawock, the 1A defending champs, on Saturday.
“The boys played a great first half, but ran out of steam during the second half,” said Head Coach Steve Klaich.
“Too many turnovers.”
On Monday, the Nikolaevsk boys claimed a 60-52 victory over Noatak.
“The game was a hard-fought battle between two evenly matched teams,” said Steve Klaich.
“The game reminded me of the Peninsula Conference second-place game with CIA as both times we came from behind and had a big fourth-quarter to pull out a win over a very tough opponent. I am very pleased with the intensity and great finish in this Noatak game.”
On Tuesday, the Nikolaevsk boys scored another victory in a 64-52 game against St. Mary’s.
That victory brought the Nikolaevsk boys team face to face with King Cove at 11:20 a.m. Wednesday in a match for the consolation championship.
The girls and boys consolation championship games occurred simultaneously at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. Scores for the those games were not available by press time.
The southern Kenai Peninsula also was well represented on the 2014 Alaska Roof Coatings/Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches All-State Basketball Teams:
Coach Bea Klaich, Nikolaevsk, 1A coach of the year;
Nianiella Dorvall, Nikolaevsk, player of the year and named to the Class 1A girls first team;
Jessica Rogers, Ninilchik, Class 1A girls first team;
Sophia Kalugin, Nikolaevsk, Class 1A girls second team;
Jaruby Nelson, Nikolaevsk, Class 1A boys second team;
Tayla Cabana, Homer, Class 3A girls third team.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at email@example.com.