Before the girls Class 1A championship, Kiah Charlie of Scammon Bay told her brother she was going to catch fire in the game. She did just that.
Read more: Scammon Bay girls win first Class 1A state basketball championship
About 30 road miles separate Ninilchik from Nikolaevsk on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. Kids who play basketball in the two towns know each other well — so well that when they squared off Saturday with the Class 1A boys state championship on the line, the pre-game handshakes were accompanied by smiles and friendly words.
Read more: Ninilchik outlasts Peninsula neighbors to wear 1A boys crown
The final buzzer sounded and the Petersburg fans throughout the Alaska Airlines Center pointed their big blue "No. 1" foam fingers the sky as they screamed for their newly crowned Class 2A state champions.
Read more: Class 2A: Petersburg girls defeat Bristol Bay to claim first state basketball crown
Defense doesn't slump. It doesn't succumb to bad luck or unfortunate circumstances. All it asks is honest, earnest effort, some smarts and teamwork, some fitness and footwork, and it will be faithful and constant when other elements of a team's basketball game turn fickle.