The West Eagles will play in the Cook Inlet Conference championship game for the second straight season thanks to their 22-18 semifinal win over Service on Thursday at Dimond Alumni Field.
The second-seeded Eagles, who suffered a one-point, overtime loss to East in last season's title game, will play top-seeded and undefeated Dimond in Saturday's championship game at Dimond Alumni Field. Dimond advanced with a 41-14 win over Eagle River.
The Eagles (10-6) took an early 14-0 lead on short touchdown runs from Dani Levine and Shiccia Harris-Grant in the first half and never surrendered the lead.
Service (7-9) stayed in the game with a beautiful, 45-yard pass from quarterback Stephanie Compton to a streaking Hayleigh Van Allen to make it 14-6 in the closing seconds of the first half.
The Cougars had a chance to tie the score following a another touchdown pass from Compton to Van Allen late in the third quarter, but a failed two-point conversion left West's lead at 14-12.
West scored a touchdown and two-point conversion at the start of the fourth quarter. Nicole Olsen hauled in a 51-yard pass from Levine for the touchdown and Harris-Grant caught the conversion pass from Levine.
West sealed the win with three fourth quarter interceptions, two by Morgan Hepner and one from Harris-Grant.
In the final minute, Compton threw her third touchdown pass, hitting Zoe Bailey from 5-yards out.
West coach Travis Cantrell said he's looking forward to facing Dimond for the third time this season and said he learned from mistakes made in the previous two losses.
"We gotta play solid, basic defense, keep the ball in front of us and let the ball fall where it falls," he said.
In Thursday's other semifinal, Dimond's Tara Thompson threw four touchdown passes and caught another to lead the Lynx past Eagle River.
The win was Dimond's 16th straight.
"Eagle River came out on fire and they played a solid game," Dimond coach Kathleen Navarre said. "We were able to break it open in the end."
Eagle River's Gabi Mordini torched the Lynx for an 85-yard touchdown run to put Eagle River up 7-0 on the first play from scrimmage, but Dimond bounced back for a 14-7 lead. Eagle River quarterback Lauren Frost tied it at 14-14 with a 1-yard touchdown run just before halftime.
The second half belonged to the Lynx, who capped a 70-yard opening drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Vanessa Tufaga.
The Lynx took a 29-14 lead when Thompson found a wide open Rachel Brady for a 12-yard touchdown toss and the Lynx tacked on a two-point conversion.
Fourth-quarter interceptions by Brittany Bagsby and Haley Martin iced the win for Dimond. Martin returned her interception 45 yards for the game's final touchdown.
"The score didn't reflect the game," Eagle River coach Matt Turner said. "It was a real good game."
Thompson completed 9 of 11 passes for 117 yards and ran for 55 yards. Martin led the Lynx with 67 yards on the ground, and Tufaga led the defense with nine pulls.
South 4, Chugiak 3
Kenneth Corona of South fired a perfect score of 100 in the prone position Thursday to lead all shooters and guide South to a 4-3 Cook Inlet Conference riflery victory over Chugiak.
Corona finished with a match-high 288.
South (1,124) -- Kenneth Corona 288, Kyle Milne 282, Morgan Howard 281, Wandal Winn 273. Chugiak (1,098) -- Cole Criswell 281, Delaney Hawkins 273, Garrett Johnson 272, Sullivan Gilley 272.
South (1,064) -- Andrew Scroggs 282, Dalton Gregg 272, Kenton Mayfield 262, Ben Schlegel 248. Chugiak (1,060) --Nick Bozzo 279, Emily Vannortwick 278, Sarah Caudill 274, Ashley Campbell 229.
Chugiak (1,050) -- Dyson Hislop 278, Curtis Bringhurst 260, Kyle Bringhurst 257, Carvell Chaperon 257. South (1,012) -- Adam Cusack 263, Bryce Schwarz 262, Zackary Johnson 252, Hunter Mains 235
Sheasley outduels Bare
West's Jenny Sheasley claimed a narrow victory over Dimond's Ashton Bare in the all-around competition at Thursday's gymnastics meet at Dimond.
Sheasley didn't win any of the individual events but parlayed second-place performances in all four to the all-around victory with 30.85 points. Bare, who won three events but struggled in balance beam, scored 30.8 points.
The Lynx cruised to the team victory.
Dimond 185.450, West 158.000
Vault -- 1) Ashton Bare, Dimond, 8.2; 2) Jenny Sheasley, West, 8.1; 3) Lauren Gaither, Dimond, 7.6; 4) Amanda Lee, Dimond, 7.4; 5) tie, Brittanie Peters, Dimond, and Stephy Lahn, West, 7.3. Bars -- 1) Ashton Bare, Dimond, 7.25; 2) Jenny Sheasley, West, 7.0; 3) Brittanie Peters, Dimond, 5.6; 4) Kiara Carlton, Dimond, 5.35; 5) Chloe Chaobal, West, 5.15. Beam -- 1) Kiara Carlton, Dimond, 7.75; 2) Jenny Sheasley, West, 7.35; 3) tie, Brittanie Peters, Dimond, and Amanda Lee, Dimond, 7.0; 5) Ashton Bare, Dimond, 6.8. Floor -- 1) Ashton Bare, Dimond, 8.55; 2) tie, Jenny Sheasley, West, and Lauren Gaither, Dimond, 8.4; 4) Brittanie Peters, Dimond, 7.8; 5) Danielle Youngberg, Dimond, 7.2. All-Around -- 1) Jenny Sheasley, West, 30.85; 2) Ashton Bare, Dimond, 30.8; 3) Brittanie Peters, Dimond, 27.7; 4) Lauren Gaither, Dimond, 26.8; 5) Stephy Lahn, West, 24.3.
Alaskans lose in Phoenix
The Alaska Baseball Academy lost its first game at Arizona Senior Fall Classic baseball tournament in Phoenix, falling 8-3 to the Rawlings Prospects national baseball team.
The game was the first of five for Alaska, one of 64 teams at the tournament. Scouts from 300 colleges and all 32 Major League Baseball teams are in attendance, making the tournament the most-scouted high school event west of the Mississippi River, Alaska coach Tony Wylie said.
Alaska collected seven hits, with Jake Ridley of South High going 3 for 4 with a triple and an RBI single. Scott Campos of East and Kyle Gould of Juneau added run-scoring singles and Brian Way of Sitka and Scooter Bynum of Fairbanks contributed hits.
Anchorage Daily News