The Rewind: 1A/2A state basketball championships wrap up, Alissa Pili headed to Sweet 16, and young Alaskans shine at Junior National Ski Championships

Welcome to The Rewind, a weekly digest that puts a spotlight on the biggest stories and best performances from Alaska’s world of sports.

On the high school sports scene, the 1A/2A state basketball tournament concluded over the weekend and saw two new champions crowned at the 1A level while two repeated at the 2A level. On the college scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage gymnastics team wrapped up its 2023 season while several local products shined bright on national stages.

Headlines and highlights

The Lumen Christi girls team played in the first title game on Saturday and edged out Shaktoolik 32-30 to claim their first 1A basketball title. The Archangels were led in scoring by senior Emily Ross, who accounted for half of the team’s total with a game-high 16 points, while the Wolverines were led by Kayleigh Sagoonick’s 11 points.

[Lumen Christi girls hang on to top Shaktoolik 32-30 for first 1A state basketball title]

The Kake boys basketball team ended a 36-year title drought by dominating Aniak from start to finish, 67-49, to claim its first 1A championship since 1987. The Thunderbirds were led by senior Ethan Kadake, who recorded 25 of his game-high 31 points in the first half, while the Halfbreeds were led by Ryan Steeves’ 19 points.

[Kake boys cap undefeated season with 1A state basketball championship win over Aniak]

The Tikigaq girls won a second straight 2A title and fourth since 2018 with a lopsided 55-33 victory over Metlakatla in the third game of the championship slate. The Harpooners were led in scoring by sensational sopohmore Jennifer Nash, who recorded a game-high 20 points including five 3-pointers. Nearly half of the Chiefs’ point total came credit of Bree Chavez’s 15 points.


[Tikigaq girls repeat as 2A state basketball champs]

The Ninilchik boys set out with the same goal in mind and were able to secure the program’s first back-to-back state titles since the 2016-17 seasons after rallying past Tikigaq 66-53 in the final game of the night. The Wolverines were led in scoring and rebounds by star senior Colvin Moore, who recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while the Harpooners were led by their own star, senior Joelian Lane, who scored a game-high 25 points.

[Ninilchik boys basketball team rallies past Tikigaq to repeat as 2A state champion]

Even though his team fell short of reclaiming the 2A throne, Lane and the Harpooners came out on top of arguably the most entertaining and dramatic game of the entire tournament at either division on Friday night when they overcame an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Metlakatla 67-63 and advance to the title game.

[Tikigaq boys erase 18-point fourth quarter deficit to advance to Alaska 2A basketball championship]

In college hoops news, University of Alaska women’s team standout junior guard Vishe’ Rabb received another honor last week following her outstanding first season with the program. She was one of 10 NCAA women’s basketball players in the Division II West Region to be named as a D2CCA Second Team All-Region selection. The 5-foot-9 forward was also named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year and First Team All-GNAC after leading the team in scoring (436) and steals (52) with a free-throw percentage of .879 that led the GNAC and was second-best in program history.

The UAA gymnastics team concluded its 2023 season at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships this past Saturday and the Seawolves finished fifth among the five teams in combined score with 190.075. In her last collegiate performances, senior Rachel Decious tied for sixth among 30 competitors on beam with a 9.825, which was just shy of her own program season high, and freshman Ariana DeSouza scored a team-best 9.8 on floor.

“The team really brought it back on the last three events after a tough start (on uneven bars), and that wasn’t an easy feat at the biggest competition of the year,” UAA head coach Marie-Sophie Boggasch said in a statement. “It was a special day for our seniors, who truly led the team with their performances today.”

The University of Alaska Fairbanks riflery team captured a nation championship for the 11th time in program history and for the first time since 2008 on March 11. With a 2,380 in air rifle, a 12-point lead on second-place Texas Christian University and an aggregate score of 4,729, the Nanooks were able to make their long-awaited return to the top of the collegiate riflery world.

The 2023 U.S. Cross Country Ski Junior National Championships took place in Fairbanks last week and skiers from the Last Frontier showed up and showed out. Wells Wappett of Lathrop and Katey Houser of Palmer highlighted the standout performances by the hosting Alaska team that finished fourth with (613) points.

Wappett won three medals in the boys U16 division that included winning bronze in Monday’s interval start classic, silver in Tuesday’s sprint race and gold in the mass start 5K freestyle on Thursday. Houser won a pair of medals in the girls U20 division that included bronze in the 15K mass start, gold in the sprint and placed fourth in the interval-start race. Service and Anchorage Winter Stars skier Olivia Soderstrom won the U16 sprint race. In the U18 sprint, Murphy Kimball, Elias Soule, Owen Young and Cole Flowers finished 2-4-5-6. Derek Richardson won the U20 race and Aaron Power placed fifth, followed by Philipp Moosmayer.

Other Alaskans with top 10 finishes in the mass start freestyle races included Oskar Flora, Vebjorn Flagstad, Moosmayer and Aila Berrigan. In the classic race, Kieran Kaufman, Blake Hanley, Power, Derek Richardson and Moosmayer earned top-10 finishes.

Alaska stars shining Outside

Anchorage’s Alissa Pili continued her dominant first season with the University of Utah women’s basketball team over the weekend when she set a career-high in points with 33 in the Utes’ 103-77 win over Gardner-Webb University on Friday. Two days later, she followed it up with 28 points in a 63-56 win over Princeton University on Sunday where she recorded the first double-double in the postseason of her collegiate career with a team-leading 10 rebounds. The All-American forward of Dimond fame led her team to the program’s first Sweet 16 berth in nearly two decades since 2006.

Seward’s Lydia Jacoby added to her already legendary legacy when the 19-year-old University of Texas freshman swimmer who already has an Olympic gold medal on her resume claimed an NCAA national title by winning the 100-meter breaststroke on Friday night. Her winning time of 57.03 was the seventh-fastest in NCAA history in the event, and she earned All-America honors after participating in the Longhorns’ 400-medley relay team.

[Seward swimmer Lydia Jacoby takes NCAA title in 100 breaststroke]

Anchorage’s Tobin Karlberg recorded his second straight game of 20 or more points last Monday as he finished second on the Point Loma University men’s basketball team’s 89-83 loss to Cal State San Bernardino in the Division II regional championship game. The former Grace Christian prep went 8-of-15 from the field, which included going 3-of-4 from behind the arc, and led the Sea Lions with a pair of steals.

Anchorage’s Finnigan Donley was crowned an overall national champion at the U18 Junior National Championships that wrapped up early last week. His phenomenal performance included winning two gold medals, a bronze medal, and a sixth-place finish over the four racing disciplines over the course of the four-day event. His gold medals came in the downhill and super-G on Saturday and Sunday, he came in sixth place in giant slalom Monday and his bronze medal came on Tuesday in the slalom.


Eagle River’s Vanessa Aniteye received another well-deserved accolade a week after she capped off her sensational graduate student campaign at Seattle Pacific University by claiming a national indoor track title in the NCAA women’s 800-meter when she was voted the West Region Division II Indoor Women’s Track Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The former Chugiak prep standout and former UAA transfer concluded her illustrious collegiate career with four Great Northwest Athletic Conference outdoor championships in the 400 and finished sixth in the event at NCAA outdoor nationals last spring before making the switch to the 800 for her last semester of eligibility.

Anchorage’s JT Thor tied his career-high for points in a game at the NBA level when he came off the bench and recorded 11 points for the second time this season and reached double figures in scoring for the third time in his career in the Charlotte Hornets’ 120-104 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 14. The second-year pro and former West High Eagle went 4-of-7 from the field and recorded 6 rebounds as well.

Last week’s results

Prep Basketball



Cook Inlet Academy 49, St. Mary’s 35

Lumen Christi 40, Akiachak 19

Newhalen 55, Kake 34


Shaktoolik 67, Akiuk 29

No. 3 Tanalian 47, Nunamiut 33

Aqqaluk 49, Klawock 47

Shishmaref 40, Walter Northway 37

Buckland 60, Scammon Bay 27


Shaktoolik 65, Aqqaluk 44

Cook Inlet Academy 52, Tanalian 47

Buckland 53, Newhalen 45

Lumen Christi 32, Shishmaref 24

Klawock 39, Akiuk 29

Nunamiut 53, St. Mary’s 43


Kake 47, Scammon Bay 34

Walter Northway 35, Akiachak 26

Metlakatla 52, Unalakleet 37

Su-Valley 39, Chevak 17

Tikigaq 58, Craig 47

Glennallen 39, Haines 23



Lumen Christi 58, Buckland 46

Shaktoolik 41, Cook Inlet Academy 35

Walter Northway 39, Kake 38

Klawock 44, Nunamiut 42

Newhalen 49, Shishmaref 42

Tanalian 40, Aqqaluk 38

Metlakatla 28, Su-Valley 24

Tikigaq 40, Glennallen 35

Craig 41, Haines 36

Unalakleet 52, Chevak 39


Lumen Christi 32, Shaktoolik 30

Buckland 53, Cook Inlet Academy 47

Newhalen 46, Tanalian 32


Klawock 63, Walter Northway 52

Tikigaq 55, Metlakatla 33

Su Valley 36, Glennallen 35

Craig 40, Unalakleet 39



Tri-Valley 69, Buckland 65

Newhalen 69, Shaktoolik 32

Cook Inlet Academy 64, Emmonak 45

Kake 72, Lumen Christi 28

Napaaqtugmiut 51, Shishmaref 45

Scammon Bay 88, Nunamiut 54

King Cove 40, Klawock 39

Aniak 49, Nelson Island 47


Scammon Bay 80, King Cove 65

Aniak 64, Napaaqtugmiut 55

Kake 67, Newhalen 45

Tri-Valley 65, Cook Inlet Academy 63

Klawock 69, Nunamiut 50

Nelson Island 68, Shishmaref 61

Shaktoolik 49, Lumen Christi 40

Buckland 69, Emmonak 55

Petersburg 58, Hooper Bay 55

Ninilchik 97, Unalakleet 55

Tikigaq 64, Wrangell 51

Metlakatla 50, Cordova 33


Aniak 77, Scammon Bay 62

Kake 61, Tri-Valley 56

Klawock 59, Nelson Island 51

Buckland 76, Shaktoolik 74

Napaaqtugmiut 78, King-Cove 56

Newhalen 66, Cook Inlet Academy 42

Tikigaq 67, Metlakatla 63

Ninilchik 53, Petersburg 42

Unalakleet 72, Hooper Bay 56

Wrangell 61, Cordova 47


Kake 67, Aniak 49

Tri-Valley 73, Scammon Bay 62

Napaaqtugmiut 69, Newhalen 50

Klawock 50, Buckland 40

Ninilchik 66, Tikigaq 53

Metlakatla 58, Petersburg 44

Wrangell 60, Unalakleet 31




UC Davis 196.200; San Jose State 195.600; Air Force 195.475; Sacramento State 194.550; UAA 190.075

Fast Forward



2023 3A/4A ASAA State Championship Tournament

March Madness in the Last Frontier is coming to a close this week as the prep hoops postseason wraps up this week with the conclusion of the 2022-2023 season for the higher level schools around the state. The top 3A and 4A boys and girls teams will be in Anchorage and playing at the Alaska Airlines Center where they will battle it out for supremacy with the hopes of claiming a state title for their respective programs.

The action begins on Wednesday and runs through Saturday with the championship bouts for 3A taking place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. while the 4A title tilts tip off at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Alaska state 3A/4A basketball tournament

(All games on Alaska Airlines Center Main Court unless noted)

3A Girls


First round

No. 1 Grace Christian vs. No. 8 Bethel, 8 a.m.

No. 4 Barrow vs. No. 5 Sitka, 9:30 a.m.

No. 2 Monroe Catholic vs. No. 7 Kenai Central, 11 a.m.

No. 3 Mt. Edgecumbe vs. No. 6 Valdez, 3:15 p.m. at Auxiliary Gym



Loser Grace Christian/Bethel vs. Loser Barrow/Sitka, noon at Auxiliary Gym

Loser Monroe Catholic/Kenai Central vs. Loser Mt. Edgecumbe/Valdez, noon


Winner Monroe Catholic/Kenai Central vs. Winner Mt. Edgecumbe/Valdez, 3:15 p.m.

Winner Grace Christian/Bethel vs. Winner Barrow/Sitka, 4:45 p.m.


4th/6th place, 11 a.m. at Auxiliary Gym


3rd/5th place, 10:30 a.m.

Championship, 1 p.m.

3A Boys


First round

No. 4 Mt. Edgecumbe vs. No. 5 Kenai Central, 8 a.m. at Auxiliary Gym

No. 1 Grace Christian vs. No. 8 Delta, 9:30 a.m. at Auxiliary Gym

No. 2 Nome-Beltz vs. No. 7 Barrow, 3:15 p.m.

No. 3 Houston vs. No. 6 Valdez, 7:45 p.m. at Auxiliary Gym



Loser Mt. Edgecumbe/Kenai Central vs. Loser Grace Christian/Delta, 10:30 a.m.

Loser Nome-Beltz/Barrow vs. Loser Houston/Valdez, 10:30 a.m. at Auxiliary Gym


Winner Mt. Edgecumbe/Kenai Central vs. Winner Grace Christian/Delta, 6:15 p.m.

Winner Nome-Beltz/Barrow vs. Winner Houston/Valdez, 7:45 p.m.


4th/6th place, 9:30 a.m.


3rd/5th place, 9 a.m.

Championship, 3 p.m.

4A Girls


First round

No. 2 Wasilla vs. No. 7 Lathrop, 12:30 p.m.

No. 4 Thunder Mountain vs. No. 5 West Anchorage, 12:30 p.m. at Auxiliary Gym

No. 3 Colony vs. No. 6 Juneau-Douglas, 4:45 p.m.

No. 1 Anchorage Christian vs. No. 8 Dimond, 6:15 p.m.



Loser Anchorage Christian/Dimond vs. Loser Thunder Mountain/West, 12:30 p.m.

Loser Colony/Juneau-Douglas vs. Loser Wasilla/Lathrop, 12:30 p.m. at Auxiliary Gym


Winner Anchorage Christian/Dimond vs. Winner Thunder Mountain/West, 3:15 p.m.

Winner Colony/Juneau-Douglas vs. Winner Wasilla/Lathrop, 4:45 p.m.


4th/6th place, 10:30 a.m. at Seawolf Sports Center

3rd/5th place, 10:30 a.m. at Auxiliary Gym

Championship, 5:30 p.m.

4A Boys


First round

No. 1 West Valley vs. No. 8 Juneau-Douglas, 11 a.m.

No. 3 Bettye Davis East vs. No. 6 Anchorage Christian, 4:45 p.m.

No. 4 Monroe Catholic vs. No. 5 Colony, 6:15 p.m. at Auxiliary Gym

No. 2 Dimond vs. No. 7 West Anchorage, and 7:45 p.m.



Loser West Valley/Juneau-Douglas vs. Loser Monroe Catholic/Colony, 9:30 a.m. at Auxiliary Gym

Loser Bettye Davis East/Anchorage Christian vs. Loser Dimond/West, 11 a.m.


Winner West Valley/Juneau-Douglas vs. Winner Monroe Catholic/Colony, 6:15 p.m.

Winner Bettye Davis East/Anchorage Christian vs. Winner Dimond/West, 7:45 p.m.


4th/6th, 9 a.m. at Seawolf Sports Center

3rd/5th, 9 a.m. at Auxiliary Gym

Championship, 7:30 p.m.


Anchorage Wolverines vs. Minnesota Wilderness at Ben Boeke Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday 7 p.m. and Sunday 4 p.m.

After a week off, the Wolverines will be back in action and on home ice for the third weekend this month. They will be looking to bounce back from getting swept in their last time out against the Minnesota Wilderness as they continue to make a push for playoff positioning. On the season, Anchorage is 1-2 against Springfield and will have a chance to tie or take the head-to-head series lead with a three-game series this weekend

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.