Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 9:01 PM on Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mariner Highlights

Basketball gals taste far north competition, hospitality

The Homer Mariner girls basketball team played three games in a five-day trip to Alaska's northernmost city last week. They came home Sunday with the Barrow Whaler Invitational sportsmanship award and unforgettable experiences.

Head Coach Dennis Welch said the trip was a great opportunity to see a different part of the state and play some tough teams.

Basketball is a big deal in Barrow, where the gym was packed each night. The Barrow Whaler girls team is number one in the 3A division, consistently winning by more than 30 points.

"We played hard but there were some good teams there," said Head Coach Dennis Welch in an e-mail.

The Ms fell 22-66 to Barrow on Thursday, 32-41 to Cordova on Friday and 24-45 to West Anchorage Saturday. Liz Needham made all-tournament team.

"She had a great week playing aggressively and showing leadership," Welch said.

Off the court, the girls learned about Barrow's whaling lifestyle at the Inupiat Heritage Center and saw a polar bear on sea ice during a drive out the road. Barrow's mayor handed out muktuk for all of the players to try, which they consumed with varying degrees of enjoyment.

"There was a lot more than basketball going on there in Barrow. It was a trip these girls will never forget," Welch said.

The Mariners boys varsity team rested last weekend. The boys and girls face three teams at the Ninilchik tournament today through Saturday. The JV boys and girls teams played at Ninilchik last night and will begin three days of play at the Grace JV tournament in Anchorage today.

Game times are listed on homernews.com/sports.

Hockey season ends, three selected for All-Conference teams

The Mariners finished off a hockey season last Thursday in a 2-1 game against Soldotna at the Palmer Ice Arena.

Asa Stage made an unassisted power play goal 25 seconds into the second period to give the Mariners the lead. The team gave up a shorthanded goal a few minutes later and Palmer scored again with a minute and a half remaining in the period.

Palmer went on to beat Wasilla 5-3 in the North Star Conference championship game for a slot in the state competition this weekend.

Coaches voted Alex Sanarov for the All-Conference Team goalie. Dennis Sanarov and Asa Stage were named to the All-Conference second team.

Skiers bound for championships

The cross country ski team competes in the borough championships at Skyview on Saturday. Head Coach Jan Spurkland expects the varsity boys to be highly competitive.