Beth Bragg

In a show of force that resulted in gold and silver, skiers from Alaska Pacific University grabbed first place and second place in the national championship mixed relay race Tuesday at the SuperTour Finals in Sun Valley, Idaho.

APU dominated the day even with two of its top skiers out sick – Rosie Brennan and David Norris – and another, four-time Olympian Kikkan Randall, choosing to skip the year-end race series.

“It says a lot about the strength of our program,” said 2014 Olympian Sadie Bjornsen, a member of APU’s gold-medal relay team. “Even missing two of our top skiers, we were able to finish first and second. It’s so great, because we have so many talented skiers and everyone had such an exceptional race.”...

Beth Bragg

Credit Dimond's defense and up-tempo play for carrying the Lynx to the Class 4A girls state championship Saturday night at Sullivan Arena.

Credit West Valley's heart and guts for making the game thrilling.

The Lynx earned their first state title since 2006 by beating a decimated West Valley team 54-49, a victory that was clinched with two huge defensive plays in the final 45 seconds.

The Wolfpack played most of the game with seven players. They lost point guard Carlee Marques to a broken wrist Friday, and four minutes into Saturday's game they lost another starter, guard Amber Szmyd to a knee injury.

Though Szmyd gamely tried to return in the second half, she lasted all of 65 seconds, a stretch spent hobbling and biting her jersey in pain...

Beth Bragg

With a state championship at stake, Sitka's Sidney Riggs was right where she wanted to be Saturday afternoon -- and right where the Valdez Buccaneers feared she would be.

Riggs, a senior playing in her second state championship game, sank nine free throws in the final quarter, including three in the final 35 seconds, to lift Sitka to a 53-50 victory over Valdez in the Class 3A title game at Sullivan Arena

The championship is the first for the Wolves, who won by getting to the foul line. More specifically, by getting Riggs to the foul line.

"She's our best player. We want the ball in her hands at the end of the game," Sitka coach Sondra Lundvick said...

Beth Bragg

For the fifth straight year, two Anchorage teams will play for the Class 4A boys state basketball championship.

The East Thunderbirds and West Eagles, two teams with long memories, cruised to semifinal victories Friday at Sullivan Arena to set up a Saturday championship game that will be battle for statewide and citywide supremacy.

East disposed of the Colony Knights 57-37 and West clobbered Service on the boards to take a 67-52 win in a rematch of last year's state championship game.

East will be playing for its second championship in three years. West will be playing for its first since 2010...

Beth Bragg

When the Class 4A girls championship game tips off Saturday night, Ruthy Hebard and Rohyn Huss will be the centers of attention.

Hebard is the 6-foot-3 post for West Valley. Huss is the 5-11 post for Dimond. On Friday, they helped their teams win semifinal games -- Hebard racked up 23 points and 24 rebounds in West Valley's 50-32 rout of Colony, and Huss piled up 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in Dimond's 71-46 romp over Ketchikan.

"Everyone's been waiting for the Rohyn Huss-Ruthy Hebard battle," Dimond coach Jim Young said.

And yet two other players could figure significantly in the title game at Sullivan Arena.

For Dimond, that player is 5-9 forward Dejha Canty, a magnet for rebounds who furnished 28 points and 14 rebounds Friday...

Beth Bragg

Tamra Jones is pretty sure not many people in Glennallen remember the last time the town's girls basketball team reigned as Alaska state champions. She is absolutely certain she has no memory of it.

"I wasn't even alive," she said.

Thirty-one years after their only previous state title, the Panthers are back on top. The winners of the Class 3A title in 1984, Glennallen captured the Class 2A championship Wednesday by stopping Metlakatla 51-39 at the Alaska Airlines Center.

"Tremendous teamwork, tremendous character," Glennallen coach Jim Lorence said of his team, which finished with a 19-5 record...

Beth Bragg

It's that time of the year when Alaska celebrates running huskies, so give it up for the Wainwright Huskies, the new Class 1A girls state basketball championships.

Relying on fitness acquired over the winter at early-morning practices, the Huskies wore down the Buckland Sissauni while racing to a 62-36 championship-game victory at the Alaska Airlines Center.

"Just run," junior Kai Nashookpuk said, explaining Wainwright's secret to success. "We worked hard for it all year.

"It really does pay off at the end."

Nashookpuk, a junior, nearly racked up a triple-double -- 25 points, 11 rebounds, nine steals. Jay-Jay Aguvluk, one of two Wainwright seniors, furnished a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds...

Beth Bragg

A year ago, Seldovia lost a semifinal game at the Class 1A state basketball team by five points. Calem Collier has been thinking about that game ever since.

"I told everyone if we ever got back here again, I was making sure we wouldn't lose again," Collier said. "You get a loss like that, you don't want to feel that way again and you do what you can do to make sure you don't."

Collier was true to his words Tuesday.

He scored 19 first-half points and finished with 30 points and 14 rebounds to help the Sea Otters slip past Anaktuvak Pass 56-55 and grab a spot in Wednesday's 3:45 p.m.championship game -- the first title-game appearance in history for the small Kenai Peninsula town, Seldovia coach Mark Janes said...

Beth Bragg

While Edna Ahmaogak was busy earning a master's degree in education, a bunch of her former third-graders were busy mastering the game of basketball.

Now that they've been reunited, the Wainwright Huskies are back in the Class 1A girls state championship game.

Wainwright dominated Teller 64-29 Tuesday in a semifinal game to earn a spot in Wednesday's championship game at the Alaska Airlines Center. The Huskies will meet Buckland at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Wainwright is in the title game for the first time since 2009, when the Huskies won it all. Ahmaogak was the team's coach that season, but she gave up the job the next year to begin a four-year online pursuit of her degree while continuing to teach third grade at the North Slope school...

Beth Bragg
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The Glennallen Panthers will be the only defending state champions playing in Tuesday’s semifinals of the Class 1A and Class 2A state basketball tournaments after action Monday, March 16, 2015, at Sullivan Arena....

Beth Bragg