Day 1 recap of the State Basketball Tournament, four interior teams advance to semis
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The madness that come with March was in full swing Thursday with 32 teams between boys and girls Class 3A/4A in action, including seven programs from Interior, Alaska.
The Monroe Girls hadn’t played a game since their Aurora Conference Championship victory nearly two weeks ago, and it showed a little bit early on. The Nanooks came to play, leading for much of the first quarter before the Rams escaped the first quarter with a narrow 14-13 lead. Monroe was able to widen their margin, turning defense into transition opportunities on offense, inflating the lead to 35-19 by the half. That cushion was enough for the Rams to cruise to a 64-39 win over Nome. The backcourt duo of Katie Bast (18 points) and Shelby Eidenmiller (15 points), led the way offensively once again, while the sharp-shooting Maggie Zaverl added 13 in the victory. Bast, contributing to both sides of the floor, generated 10 steals and chipped in six assists. Monroe faces the Sitka Wolves at 2 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
Hutchison received word they would be competing at state just a few days ago and was not able to host practices leading up to it. After a tight, 9-7 opening quarter, Kotzebue opened up the game in the second half, defeating the Hawks 58-17 in the quarterfinals. Paityn Taylor and Destiny Felix scored five points apiece for Hutch. The Hawks will play their final game of the season at 4 p.m.against the Homer Mariners.
Typically a matchup we might see later in the tournament, it was the Grace Christian Grizzlies and the Monroe Catholic Rams squaring off in the opening round, and it lived up to the hype. With both programs boasting strong fan support, the ‘defense’ chants work more efficiently for the Rams. Monroe held Grace to just two points in the second quarter and only four in the the third, on their way to a 43-26 win in the quarterfinals. A trio of Rams were in double figures, with Jase McCullough (11 points) returning for his first game in a month, Tommy Bast (11) and Quinn McHenry (10), who added 10 steals for a double-double. Monroe is set to face Nome-Beltz at 6 p.m. Friday, winner goes the Class 3A Boys State Championship.
Well, as you may have just read, Nome advanced to the semifinals after a 67-39 win over the Delta Huskies, who received an at-large bid to the tournament. Seniors Austin Durham and Ben Bialik each posted double-doubles, while Joelniel Gonzalez added 11 for the Huskies. Delta’s season concludes at 12 p.m. Friday against Grace Christian.
The Hutch Boys also discovered they’ll be competing at state just days prior to tip-off, coming in on short notice and short-handed. Hawks senior Cormac Kesey did all he could, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a 74-29 loss at the hands of Anchorage Christian. Hutch’s final game of the season is Friday against Kotzebue.
The Mid Alaska Conference Champions left little to doubt in their opening round matchup, jumping out to a 12-3 first quarter lead over the Dimond Lynx. The Malemutes would go on to outscore the Lynx in every quarter en route to a 57-23 win to advance to the semifinals. Per usual, TT Tagovailoa (15 points, 7 steals) and Tristian Martin (14 points, 10 steals) were productive on both ends of the floor. Lathrop takes on Colony at 4 p.m. Friday, winner books a ticket to the state championship game.
An absolute dogfight between West Valley and Wasilla, with neither team able to find an edge, tied at just 15 at the half. Sophomore Stewart Erhart took over the fourth quarter, scoring 9 of his game-high 18 points in the quarter, including back-to-back three-pointers that gave the Wolfpack just enough to come away with a 42-32 victory. West Valley will face East Anchorage at 6 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
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