The Colony Knights returned to the top of the mountain Saturday, winning their first state championship in 10 years -- and in signature fashion.
The Knights defeated top-seed Chugiak 49-45 in overtime Saturday, their second game of the Class 4A tournament requiring OT.
Alex Coon drained all six of her free throws in overtime, and Colony was 9 of 10 at the line in the extra session.
For the game the Knights were 24 for 30, a marked improvement over their semifinal win against Palmer when poor free-throw shooting threatened to undo them down the stretch.
"We knew we missed a lot (Friday)," Allie Grazulis said. "I think we extra concentrated on it (Saturday)."
Colony only scored one field goal -- a Grazulis drive to the hoop -- in overtime, but went to the line on five of eight possessions.
"You can't guard free throws," Chugiak coach Tracy Adams said.
Coon was Colony's star, overpowering the undersized Mustangs in the low post. She was 4 of 7 from the field -- a couple of shots rimmed out -- and 9 of 10 from the line, with seven rebounds.
Grazulis had 12 points and six boards. Maria Bowker added 11 points.
"We kind of went in with the idea that inside is our strength," said Colony coach Don Witzel, who has led the Knights to all four of their state titles. "Get the ball in to Alex and give her a chance to go to work. She did a pretty good job of not forcing shots.
"Offensively this was one of our better games simply because we didn't have a drought and we stayed focused."
Sarah Watzke almost single-handedly kept Chugiak in the game. She scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first half, all on layups after breaking down the defense.
"She's an incredible athlete," Adams said. "When things get stagnant, she can take things over. A wonderful kid, great floor leader and just constant effort.
"This year she's been more of a distributor of the ball, but she recognized we were a little stagnant tonight and she took over and tried to get us going."
Watzke and Sarah Murphy combined for nine of Chugiak's 10 steals on the night, which allowed the quicker Mustangs to get their transition game going.
"Basketball is a game of matchups, and with Chugiak we do tend to match up pretty well," Witzel said. "I was really concerned about their quickness, and Sarah took advantage of us a number of times.
"We were just being real casual with the ball sometimes and not getting to the right spots to receive passes."
Chugiak led 38-35 with three minutes to play in regulation but would not score again until overtime. Grazulis and Kara Larson combined to go 3 of 4 at the line to forge a tie.
When the Mustangs had the ball down the stretch, they ran clock, more than a minute on each of two possessions.
The first one ended on a missed baseline jumper, the second -- with about three seconds left -- ended on a turnover.
"We didn't execute," Adams said. "Those things happen."
Colony failed to score on its first possession of overtime when Coon saw a layup attempt spin out after she got open underneath. The Mustangs then ran 1:45 off the clock but eventually turned it over.
Grazulis made her bucket at the other end, then Watzke came back and missed a drive.
That's when the parade to the free throw line started. First Coon, then Grazulis, then Larson, then Coon two more times.
As time waned, the Mustangs' shot selection became less discriminating and the points stopped coming.
"They congested things in the middle a little bit and our perimeter game wasn't exactly what we were hoping," Adams said. "Ball movement wasn't what it was."
Colony led 49-42 until Lindsay Murphy hit a three at the buzzer for the final margin.
The Knights were playing in their first title game since losing to East in 2000. That was the end of a seven-year run that saw them in the championship game six times, winning three.
Colony's last state championship coincidentally came against the Mustangs in 1998, a 54-44 victory. The Knights were also involved in the last overtime championship game in 1999 when they lost to Palmer 44-43.
Find Andrew Hinkelman online at adn.com/contact/ahinkelman or call 257-4335.
Wasilla 50, Palmer 41
Jenna Johnson exploded for 28 points, 10 rebounds and three steals Saturday morning, helping defending champion Wasilla claim third place in the girls Class 4A state tournament at Sullivan Arena.
The young Wasilla squad -- with just one senior on the roster -- led just 32-27 entering the fourth quarter, but Johnson scored 10 points in the final frame to help the Warriors pull away. Shelby Fulton added 12 points for Wasilla.
Ashley Swetzof paced Palmer with 11 points
Juneau 59, South 55, OT
Brittany Fenumiai scored Juneau's first five points of overtime as the Crimson Bears defeated South for fourth place at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
Fenumiai finished with 12 points. Nicole Fenumiai added 10.
Sylvia Bullock, playing her last high school game before heading off to Division I Miami in the fall, had 27 points and 15 rebounds for South.
The game was close throughout, featuring 11 ties and 12 lead changes.
ASAA/First National Bank
Class 4A Girls State Basketball Tournament
At Sullivan Arena
Chugiak 12 6 10 10 7 -- 45
Colony 7 9 15 7 11 -- 49
Chugiak -- S. Watzke 22, Murphy 5, Meddaugh 4, Sayer 4, Clifford 7, Weiss 3.
Colony -- Hamann 3, Bowker 11, Grazulis 12, Coon 17, Larson 6.
Wasilla 14 5 13 18 -- 50
Palmer 4 10 13 14 -- 41
Wasilla -- Fulton 12, Johnson 28, Colegrove 7, Cottle 3.
Palmer -- Swetzof 11, J. Cox 7, Campbell 8, Mangelsdorf 1, M. Cox 4, Tzou 2, Ratcliff 8.
At Wells Fargo Sports Complex
Juneau 8 13 4 21 13 -- 59
South 8 11 6 21 9 -- 55
Juneau -- Johnson 2, Henderson 2, Dierick 3, Tingley 7, B. Fenumiai 12, Brakes 4, Harrison 6, Highley 4, Larson 7, N. Fenumiai 10, Sworfford 2.
South -- Gurule 5, Horazdovsky 14, Stark 3, Gamblin 6, Bullock 27.