Alex DeMarban

Saying he’s personally troubled by the lack of a broad discussion about Alaska's fiscal crisis, the head of a prominent think tank wants to see a statewide conference involving Alaskans and leaders discussing budget reductions and new ways of generating revenues, including through taxes or the Permanent Fund's earnings.

So far, the solution to the state’s massive deficit has centered primarily on emergency cuts by the administration and the Legislature. Some say that's a necessary first step before the state begins looking for new taxes...

Alex DeMarban

ConocoPhillips Alaska on Monday said it will move ahead with a development expected to add up to 8,000 barrels of crude to the trans-Alaska pipeline each day, crediting Alaska tax reform, despite low oil prices that have delayed projects around the world.

But the announcement comes amid rumblings of layoffs on the North Slope, including at the field where the project is located, Kuparuk, about 40 miles west of Prudhoe Bay...

Alex DeMarban

One dynasty ended but another may be just beginning.

The Barrow Whalers -- with two star freshmen who play like seniors -- shattered Monroe Catholic’s hopes for a championship four-peat Saturday night at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. And with their 50-40 victory, they won their first boys state crown in history.

“It’s never been done before, but we finished it today,” said Barrow coach Jeremy Arnhart, as some of his Whalers let out full-throated screams after the game.

“It’s a joy to reward them with this,” Arnhart said, referring to the “Whaler Nation” fans, roaring as he spoke, who have long waited for a title...

Alex DeMarban

The Barrow boys are back in the state finals following a decade-long drought, after they shut down one of the state’s top teams and all but silenced their biggest threat.

On Saturday, they’ll face three-time defending 3A boys champion Monroe Catholic after they rolled over Grace Christian 48-42.

“We just had a couple more weapons than they did and we took advantage of them,” said Monroe coach Frank Ostanik, referring to some of his top players.

As for Barrow, they beat powerhouse Anchorage Christian 50-40, but the Whalers won’t be celebrating until it wins the crown, said coach Jeremy Arnhart...

Alex DeMarban

In a bruising match against a relentless Barrow squad, Marian Wamsley left no doubt why she was named 3A girls player of the year, engineering a fourth-quarter rally that would give Valdez its first trip to the championship match in more than a decade.

Valdez, ranked second in the state by coaches, will face the top-ranked Sitka Wolves after they beat the Hutchison Hawks 49-36 in state semifinals action Friday. The title game will be Sitka’s first since 2012, when it lost to Galena in overtime.

During the Valdez game, Wamsley broke through a screaming wall of in-your-face pressure from the Whalers, hammering in 21 points and muscling down 13 rebounds to power the Buccaneers to a 53-45 victory.

Barrow made them earn every point...

Alex DeMarban

Large-school March Madness Alaska began with a bang early Thursday, with two of the state's most-watched players headlining the tournament’s opening games at Sullivan Arena.

On the main court at 8 in the morning was West Valley junior Ruthy Hebard, getting looks from two college recruiters sitting in the audience.

She led the top-ranked Wolfpack to a 50-37 victory over the Thunder Mountain Falcons from Juneau, scoring 12 points and yanking down 20 rebounds.

The 6-foot-3 center has been getting attention from colleges since the end of her freshman year, and Hebard considers the recruiters friends when they call to talk about school, her family, whatever...

Alex DeMarban

It was a night of heartbreak for the Dillingham boys in a rematch of last year’s 2A state title as the Glennallen Panthers slipped by them in a barnburner of a game that came down to a missed three-pointer at the buzzer.

Last year, a taller Glennallen team handily defeated the Wolverines to win its first state crown. This time, every point counted in a back-and-forth struggle that ended small-schools March Madness with an exclamation point, with Glennallen holding Dillingham at bay in the closing seconds to win 38-35.

The girls from Glennallen also won the 2A crown Wednesday night in Anchorage, making the high school the 11th team to sweep since girls began playing basketball in Alaska in 1971-72...

Alex DeMarban

Like the Superman logos carved into their scalps would suggest, the Scammon Bay Eagles had a perfect season.

Except until the very end.

They ran into a hot Seldovia team at the 1A boys state championship in Anchorage, falling prey to a powerful defense, crisp passing and dead-on shooting. Poised and always pressing its opponent, Seldovia delivered Scammon Bay's first loss of the season in a 62-34 rout that was all but over midway through the third.

Not that Scammon Bay didn’t try.

In fact, in victory, Seldovia had nothing but praise for a team it had trounced...

Alex DeMarban

The Dillingham and Glennallen boys will face each other in a rematch of last year's state tournament after both teams eked out close wins in the 2A boys tournament Tuesday.

For Dillingham, it was a nail-biting, see-saw, 41-37 victory over a dangerous team from Unalakleet. A game dominated by 30 minutes of high-flying action came down to free throws in the closing seconds, with senior guard Kenneth Savo sinking four in a row to push the Wolverines ahead.

It was a punishing way to end a thriller, said Steve Ivanoff, Unalakleet's coach.

“It’s hard to lose by free throws in a game dictated by field goals,” he said...

Alex DeMarban

Metlakatla showed why it's the 2A girls team to beat Tuesday -- but only barely -- advancing to the championship game after edging the Bristol Bay Angels 46-45.

It was the second narrow victory in two days for the Miss Chiefs.

Bristol Bay, a taller team with a short bench, forced the semifinal to the wire after an impressive run that began late in the third quarter.

It was a stunning reversal from halftime, when Metlakatla entered the locker room with a 28-12 halftime lead in a game that looked like a blowout in the making.

Bristol Bay had different plans...

Alex DeMarban