Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 5:23 PM on Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rumble features gamut of basketball talent

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer


Photo by Lindsay Johnson, Homer News

Nikolaevsk senior Mark Fefelof looks for an opportunity during the final game of the Warrior Rumble last Saturday against the Su-Valley Rams.

More Warrior Rumble photos on Spotted®

For the ninth year, a late-January rumble was felt at the Nikolaevsk school. Four teams brought a variety of playing styles from their respective regions of Alaska to the Nikolaevsk Warrior Dome for three days of basketball.

Aniak, a 1A school in the upper Kuskokwim River region; Valley Christian, a non-ASAA affiliated school from the Mat-Su area; and Su-Valley, a 3A school near Talkeetna, spent last Thursday, Friday and Saturday playing the southern Kenai Peninsula 2A host.

The teams that traveled farthest to compete — Aniak's girls and boys — went undefeated in the 12-game round robin tournament. It was the 1A school's first time coming to the region to play these teams, said the Boys Head Coach Wayne Morgan.

"Usually we stay home, play within our region. We're fortunate to come here," Morgan said.

"It's much taller. Just a different style of play than what we usually play. You got to have the team to play up-tempo. This year we have that team," he said.

Nikolaevsk Boys Head Coach Steve Klaich also noted the different playing styles and geographic diversity represented.

"It was an interesting tournament in who we had come. It was good competition for all of the schools because later in the season we're going to run into teams from elsewhere in the state. It's been great experience to play against some different styles and some different teams," he said.

Su-Valley took second with two wins and Valley Christian third with one win.

Four of Nikolaevsk's starters graduated last year. Only six players finished the tournament. The small, young team didn't win a game, but maintained a good attitude.

"It's all fun. Anytime you can get on the court and play basketball, just have fun, it's the best thing to do," said sophomore Blake Klaich.

"I'm really proud of my boys," said Coach Klaich. "They're fun to watch. They play an exciting style of basketball. They're always on the floor, diving after the ball, working hard," he said.

The Nikolaevsk girls won one of their games to take third place in the tournament. Su-Valley girls won two games to take second place.

"It was fun. Lots of teams, chaos and lots of games," said Sarah Holub, a senior on the Nikolaevsk girls' team. She said the best thing was that they played hard.

"Even when we were down, we were still pushing and still trying our best," Holub said.

Girls Head Coach Bea Klaich said the team, which also is very young, has been working on a lot of the basics.

"They're responding well," Klaich said. "I think it was a positive experience for them."

The Nikolaevsk Lady Warriors and the Valley Christian Bears won the sportsmanship awards.

The Aniak girls and Nikolaevsk boys swept the shooting contests. Tiffany Hunter made 12 baskets to win the girls' freethrow contest; Blake Klaich won the boys' contest with 14.

Jannell Morgan was the girls' high 3-point shooter, making 9. Mark Fefelov made 11 in the boys' competition.

Morgan and Fefelov were named Most Valuable Players in the Warrior Rumble All Tournament team.

Nikolaevsk players Holub, Sophia Kalugin and Kilina Klaich were selected for the girls' all-tournament team. Blake Kaich and Anthony Yakunin were chosen for the boys'.

Nikolaevsk has already started planning for a big 10th anniversary Warrior Rumble, which they hope to be a big event. Players and supporters do all their own fundraising, so the Rumble is a great testament to the dedication of the families and sponsors who donated time and resources.

Next weekend the Warriors head north to the Nenana Invitational Tournament. The boys will start out with a game against Fort Yukon, a team Klaich said is aggressive and fast paced, but also small and young like the warriors.

"I think this was a good tune up for us, going up to play them," Klaich said.

Nikolaevsk will host Ninilchik on Feb. 22, Lumen Christi on Feb. 24 and Tok on Feb. 25.


Jan. 27-29 at Nikolaevsk Warrior Dome


Su-Valley Rams vs. Valley Christian Bears 45-9

Aniak Halfbreeds vs. Nikolaevsk Warriors 50-41

Aniak vs. Su Valley 44-42

Nikolaevsk vs. Valley Christian 55-24

Aniak vs. Valley Christian 60-37

Su-Valley vs. Nikolaevsk 47-28


Su-Valley vs. Valley Christian 56-38

Aniak vs. Nikolaevsk 81-68

Aniak vs. Su-Valley 65-47

Valley Christian vs. Nikolaevsk 54-50

Aniak vs. Valley Christian 86-40

Su-Valley vs. Nikolaevsk 61-49


Sportsmanship awards

Nikolaevsk Lady Warriors

Valley Christian Bears

Free throw contest

Tiffany Hunter, Aniak, 12

Blake Klaich, Nikolaevsk, 14

Three-point shooting contest

Jannell Morgan, Aniak, 9

Mark Fefelov, Nikolaevsk, 11


Jannell Morgan, Aniak

Mark Fefelov, Nikolaevsk

Girls All-Tournament team

Katherine Wollett, Su Valley; Sarah Holub, Nikolaevsk; Gerriann Krueger, Valley Christian; Sophia Kalugin, Nikolaevsk; Sierra Pedersen, Su Valley; Bailey Stevenson, Su Valley; Trisha Morgan, Aniak; and Kilina Klaich, Nikolaevsk.

Boys All-Tournament team

Harry Morgan, Aniak; Dylan Figley, Su Valley; Darrell Pine, Valley Christian; Blake Klaich, Nikolaevsk; Riley Morgan, Aniak; Mitch Drover, Su Valley; Anthony Yakunin, Nikolaevsk; and Bruce Morgan, Aniak.