Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The newly formed Eastern Conference 3A basketball tournament was held for the first time and included teams from Sitka, Mt. Edgecumbe, Houston and Redington competing at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka.
“I think the most unique part is the new blood coming down from the Matsu Valley,” Mt. Edgecumbe residential and activities principal Andrew Friske said. “It’s the first time that Houston or Redington or any teams for that matter have come down to Southeast to play in a Southeast tournament. So it was super exciting to show some Southeast hospitality.”
The Sitka High School Lady Wolves topped the Redington Huskies 36-32 for the girls championship, and the Houston Hawks defeated the Mt. Edgecumbe Braves 65-43 for the boys title. All four will represent the conference at the 3A/4A state tournament at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center, March 23-26.
In the girls championship game, Sitka led 11-9 after eight minutes and 20-15 at the half, and trailed 27-25 after three quarters. Sitka’s Maitlin Young scored seven points in the fourth quarter to boost the Lady Wolves to the title win.
Young led the Lady Wolves with 15 points. Ava Brady added 10 points, Kalenna Tucker five, and Tawny Smith, Chloe Morrison and Naia Nelson two points each.
Sitka hit 7-16 at the free throw line, Redington 0-2.
Lexi Seymore led the Huskies with 19 points. Destiny Simmons added nine points, and Delaney Reavis and Twyla Anderstrom two apiece.
“That was a super close game,” Friske said. “And it could have gone either way until the very end. There were a couple costly turnovers by Redington and Sitka pulled it out. But it was the closest any team in the tournament had played Sitka. And besides Sitka’s one loss of the year, it was the closest they played.”
Smith, a Sitka senior, set a new tournament free throw record, making 47 free throws in a row during shooting contests on Saturday.
“You shoot 25 and if you make all 25 you keep on going,” Friske said. “She kept on going until 47.”
Friske has asked Alaska School Activities Association associate director Sandi Wagner and ASAA Region V principal Jaime Cabral if the number is a state record but no clarification has been reached at this time.
“We have been keeping records since the ‘70s,” Friske said. “I wanted to see what the record was. I think it was the mid 30s. She crushed the record by at least 12. And we’ve been doing it for almost 40 years so it’s a pretty big deal.”
In the boys championship Houston led 14-5 after eight minutes, 30-24 at the half and 47-38 after three quarters.
Cole Taylor led the Hawks with 16 points. Hunter Jefferson added 14, Hayden Howard and Cody Wyrick nine apiece, Braden Cork seven, and Colton Bunn and Noah Whitted four apiece.
Houston hit 17-29 at the free throw line, Mt. Edgecumbe 10-14.
Ranen Wassillie led the Braves with 18 points. Kaison Herrmann and Rylan Armstrong added seven points apiece, Landon Varga four, Connor Journey, Daniel Buffas and Denin Prentice two each, and Shane Angnaboogok one.
“The Houston boys are undefeated this year,” Friske said. “We’ve been watching them all year. We’ll be rooting for them at the state tournament as long as we’re not playing them first. I think they are going to have a pretty good shot at it (state title). They are just really well coached, deep bench, they play well, shoot well and play tough defense.”
Unique to the tournament was the selection, and playing, of a Rookie Game on Saturday. The teams were combined rosters of players, selected by their coaches, who did not start in the tournament. A random draw from a hat created the opposing teams. Coaches for the games were nominated.
Following are Eastern Conference tournament awards.
3A Girls Champion - Sitka.
3A Girls Runner Up - Redington.
3A Boys Champion - Houston.
3A Boys Runner Up - Mt. Edgecumbe.
Sportsmanship Award - Houston.
Sitka’s Savannah Lacey and Macee Steinson.
Mt. Edgecumbe’s Hailey Moses (Fairbanks) and Eliana Hatch (Chistochina).
Sitka - Ava Brady, Maitlyn Young, Chloe Morrison, Tawny Smith, Shane Webb, Nik Calhoun.
Mt. Edgecumbe - Carliese O’Brien (Bethel), Naomi Savetilik (Shaktoolik), Keenan Kashevarok (Anchorage).
Houston - Emily Bitler, Cole Taylor, Cody Wyrick, Bradyn Cork, Hayden Howard.
Redington - Destiny Simmon, Lexie Seymore, Logan Seymour Bryce Murdoch.
MVP Girls - Lexie Seymore, Redington.
MVP Boys - Hayden Howard, Houston.
Coach of the Year Girls - Mindy Bartaloba, Sitka.
Coach of the Year Boys - Ted Van Dussen, Houston.
3 PT CHAMPIONS
Girls - Naomi Savetilik, Mt. Edgecumbe, 14-25.
Boys - Hayden Howard, Houston, 12-25.
FREE THROW CHAMPIONS
Girls - Tawny Smith, Sitka, 47 in a row.
Boys - Logan Seymore, Redington, 24 in a row.
GOOD SPORT AWARD:
Sitka - Harlee Nelson, Marina Only Miller, Jason Young, Angelo Elefante.
Mt. Edgecumbe - Mia Anderson (Sitka), Slim Shaeydyn Barr (Kiana), Daniel Buffas (Nome), Shane Angnaboogok (Anchorage).
Houston - Emily Bitler, Annika Weber, Hunter Jefferson, Cole Taylor.
Redington - Delaney Reavis, Adilyn Pitcher, Cort Sandefur, Trevor Bowman.
Mt. Edgecumbe - Shane Angnaboogok (Anch.), Keenan Kashevarof (Anch.), Landon Varga (Golovin), Mia Anderson (Sitka), TeHana Baldwin (Noorvik), Charlee Korthuis (Bethel), Dakota Kelly (Quinhagak), Hailey Moses (Fairbanks), Rio Bacha, Quinn Chickalusion, Serena Christmas, Inzelynn Owrey.
Sitka - Tawny Smith, Chloe Morrison, Josh Antolin, Nick Calhoun, Shane Webb, Stephen Harmon, Alyssa Henshaw, Savannah Lacey, Aitana Gluth, Asa Dow, Darby Osborne, Dylan Dumag, Stephen McGraw.
Houston - Emily Bitler, Annika Weber, Hunter Jefferson.
Redington - Pharrel Carter, Wayde Bowman, Roman Spoczynek, Mason Brouillet, Rison Fuller, Cort Sandefur, Delaney Reavis, Lexi Seymore, Tyla Anderstrom, Kodie Milnes.
Wednesday - Redington girls 38 MEHS 33; Houston boys 69 Sitka 24; Sitka girls 66, Houston 30; MEHS boys 70 Redington 68.
Thursday - Sitka boys 52 Redington 34; Houston girls 53 MEHS 45; Houston boys 76 MEHS 48; Sitka girls 45 Redington 18.
Friday - Redington girls 38 Houston 35; MEHS boys 43 Sitka 42; girls championship Sitka 36 Redington 32; boys championship Houston 65 MEHS 43.
The March Madness Alaska 2022 ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 3A/4A Basketball Championships are March 23-26 at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center.
Above - The Sitka High School Lady Wolves defeated the Redington Huskies for the Eastern Conference championship at Mt. Edgecumbe High School last week. (Photo Courtesy MEHS)