The Rewind: Rosie Brennan finishes top-five in Tour race, UAA skiers crack top 10 at U.S. Nationals and local product punches ticket to CFP title game

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

As 2023 wrapped up over the holiday season, there were several impressive team and individual performances across the Alaska sports landscape at the prep, collegiate, and professional level. The reigning state basketball champions for the high school 4A boys division opened their season with a bang and the defending champions in Division I boys hockey notched their biggest win of the season thus far. On the college sports scene, both of the University of Alaska Anchorage basketball teams had success their last times out on the court in 2023. Outside the state, several Alaskan athletes had impressive showings, both nationally and internationally.

Headlines and highlights

The reigning state 4A champion Bettye Davis East boys basketball team officially began its title defense the Friday before Christmas in Dec. 22 with a nonconference matchup with Palmer and after a tightly contested first half, the Thunderbirds exploded in the second and finished with a resounding 72-38 victory.

“I thought we were a little soft defensively for us, they made some 3s and knocked us back a little on our heels but we had that run at the end of the first half that was a result of us pressuring them more,” East head coach Chuck Martin said. “That was the plan from the beginning and in the second half, we continued to play defense and started making shots.”

The player that ignited the Thunderbirds’ offensive explosion in the second half was senior guard Michael George, who knocked down four of his five 3-pointers in the third quarter alone and finished with a game-high 21 points.

This game was especially meaningful for George as it marked his first since he was a sophomore. Martin said that he was slated to be a significant contributor to the team’s 2022-2023 championship run but a knee injury he suffered prior to his junior year required surgery and cost him the season.

“When he got (medically) cleared in June or May, he really went to work and had a great summer improving his game,” Martin said. “We’ve always expected a lot out of him and know he can shoot. He had a fabulous game and a fabulous second half.”


After an uneven start to its title-defending season that included losing four of its first six games after going undefeated all last season, the Chugiak boys hockey team grinded out its biggest win of the season thus far against previously undefeated West. The 4-3 overtime thriller just before winter break was a classic Cook Inlet Conference and has the team’s confidence soaring into the new year.

“I think it helps a lot,” Chugiak coach Rodney Wild said. “I was telling the kids after the game that up to this point, Chugiak was easily overlooked, but when you have an outcome like this against a team that is as skilled and good as West and we’re able to come out on top, it makes other teams more aware.”

The Mustangs got an early lead and the Eagles nearly rallied before forcing overtime and with just over two minutes left in the extra period, junior forward Blake Yawit was able to score an unassisted goal to pull off the upset.

“We were the team that everybody doubted, and even teammates on my comp team were putting us off, but we just showed everybody that we’re here to play and we’re here to win,” he said. “It was nice to play in front of and put on a show for the hometown crowd.”

[Chugiak hockey hands top-seeded West first loss in overtime thriller ahead of winter break]

The UAA Nordic ski team had a pair of top 10 finishers in the 10-kilometer classic races at the U.S. Cross Country Skiing National Championships Tuesday in Midway, Utah. Senior Astrid Stav finished fifth overall and fourth among college competitors in a time of 28:10. Fellow senior Tuva Bygrave wasn’t too far behind, coming in seventh among collegiate skiers with a time of 28:24 to lead the women’s team.

“We had a solid start to the season,” said associate head coach Trond Flagstad in a statement. “The women skied very well, and I am happy to see both Astrid and Tuva back where they were in 2021. The rest of the women skied strong and the women finished second to Utah.”

APU’s Luke Jager finished third in the 10K men’s classic and was the top American finisher while Christopher Kalev of UAF placed fifth overall.

In the team’s last action before the new year, the UAA women’s basketball squad extended its winning streak to four in row with another victory over a California opponent Dec. 19. The Seawolves blew out fellow Division II foe San Francisco State 71-51 and were led in scoring by junior guard Senya Rabouin with 14 points. Junior forward Tori Hollingshead added 12 and she nearly recorded a double-double by tying for the team lead in rebounds with nine.

The last time the UAA men’s basketball team touched the court, senior guard and East Anchorage alum, Jaron Williams, dropped a season-high 29 points in a 77-72 win over Hawaii Pacific University on Dec. 19, 2023. He earned GNAC player of the week honors after sinking 11-of-13 from the field that included going 4-of-5 from behind the arc and recorded a season-high three steals as well.

The Anchorage Wolverines were back in action after taking a little time off for Christmas and ended the 2023 portion of their schedule on a very high note with a two-game series sweep of the Chippewa Steel on the road over the weekend. They outscored their Midwest division foes 11-5 in the two contest combined, edging them out by a single goal on Friday 4-3 and then winning convincingly on Saturday 7-2. The Wolverines leading scorer in the series was Anchorage forward Bryce Monrean who scored a pair of goals in the first game and got the scoring started in the second with his third of the weekend.

Alaska stars shining Outside

Anchorage’s Edefuan Ulofoshio helped the University of Washington football team punch their ticket to the NCAA Division I national title game for the first time in over 30 years on Monday night in a thrilling 37-31 victory over University of Texas Austin in the All-State Sugar Bowl. The senior linebacker and former South high standout led the Huskies with seven total tackles, five solo tackles, and two tackles for loss and was on the field for their final goal-line stand to seal the game.

Anchorage’s Rosie Brennan just missed out on the podium in the 10K Classic at the Tour de Ski in Toblach, Italy on Sunday but was still able to add another top-five finish to her illustrious career resume. The APU Nordic Ski team member came fourth place with a time of 26:03.2 just behind fellow American and Team USA comrade Jessie Diggins who came in third with a time of 25:58.7. On the men’s side, fellow Alaskan Gus Schumacher had a strong showing as well, finishing 15th with a time of 24:11.7, which was the second-best finish by an American.

“I wanted to ski with conviction today and go out and see what was possible, so I tried to set a good pace from the beginning and hold on,” said Brennan, postrace via “I did that relatively well, I lost some time at the end, but sometimes that the way it works! But I am really proud about how I was skiing today and am happy to have a stronger race than yesterday.”

[‘It feels historic’: U.S. Cross Country Ski Team enters Tour de Ski in unprecedented territory]

Anchorage’s Alissa Pili recorded her second double-double of the season in the University of Utah women’s basketball team’s 76-65 loss to Pac-12 foe Colorado this past Saturday. The former Dimond multi-sport star led the Utes in both points and rebounds with 27 and 10 respectively in 32 minutes of action and tallied five assists and a pair of steals as well.

Fairbanks’ Ashlyn Parduhn averaged 19 points per game for the Clark College women’s basketball team at the 2023 Lower Columbia Holiday Classic this past week. In three games over three days, the freshman guard and former Lathrop standout scored double figures in each including a season-high 21 points in a narrow 60-59 win over Pierce College on Friday.


Anchorage’s Jahbez Sellers recorded a double-double in back-to-back games for the Spokane Community College men’s basketball team over the weekend. The former East high standout led the Bigfoot with 19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds is Friday’s 84-67 win over Shoreline and then led the team with 24 points and 10 rebounds in a 80-75 loss to Puget Sound the following day. Fellow Thunderbird alum Damarion Delaney recorded double figures in points in both games as well with 14 and 17 points, respectively.

Fast forward



East at Grace Christian, Friday at 6 p.m.

The only action on the hardwood in town this week will be between the reigning state champions in the 3A and 4A boys division who will face off on Friday night for a nonconference matchup.


Women’s basketball

UAA v. Western Washington, Thursday at 7 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Center


The Seawolves will be back in action and on their homecourt this week trying to extend their four-game winning streak for a pair of matchups against Great Northwest Athletic Conference foes starting with the Vikings on Thursday night and then the Simon Fraser Red Leafs on Saturday night.

Last week’s results




Thunder Mountain 62, Monroe Catholic 61

Sitka 74, Hutchison 26

Service 72, Grace Christian 38

Kodiak 59, Lumen Christi 39

Auburn Mountainview 63, Juneau-Douglas 33

Mt. Carmel 63, South 45

Ketchikan 80, Bethel 55

West 75, Metlakatla 29



Barrow 72, Kenai Central 33

Sitka 65, Lumen Christi 29

Kodiak 50, Hutchison 27

West 65, Thunder Mountain 52

Service 49, Ketchikan 33


Juneau-Douglas 64, Eagle River 57

Grace Christian 59, Bethel 44

South 53, Madison (CA) 45

Ninilchik 64, Cook Inlet Academy 55

Monroe Catholic 69, Metlakatla 37

Delta 69, Tikigaq 65

Mountain City 54, Kotzebue 45


Maranatha (CA) 54, South 44

Monroe Catholic 58, Grace Christian 52

Thunder Mountain 60, Ketchikan 48

Kodiak 58, Sitka 48

Metlakatla 72, Bethel 70

Lumen Christi 54, Hutchison 40

Minto 60, Eielson 43

Albuquerque (NM) 80, Eagle River 43

Mountain City 65, Delta 43

West 52, Service 48

Kotzebue 73, Tikgaq 54


South 54, Westview 47

Girls Basketball


Cathedral Prep (PA) 50, Wasilla 45

Monroe Catholic 43, Bartlett 21

Albuquerque (NM) 72, Haines 23

Thunder Mountain 81, Sitka 37

Juneau-Douglas 56, East 14

Ketchikan 53, Bethel 23

Palmer 39, Crook County 33

Grace Christian 56, Metlakatla 37


Barrow 69, Soldotna 44

West Valley 53, Kenai Central 27

Albuquerque (NM) 60, East 13

Sitka 60, Lumen Christi 16

Sunny Hills (CA) 46, Dimond 42

Grace Christian 43, Monroe Catholic 28

Thunder Mountain 81, Kodiak 12

Juneau-Douglas 60, Haines 26

Ninilchik 53, Cook Inlet Academy 22

Lathrop 54, Ben Eielson 5

Ketchikan 51, Palmer 36

Crook County (OR) 67, Bethel 39

Klawock 41, Lyle/Pacelli (MN) 39


Medina (OH) 48, Wasilla 38

Soldotna 47, Kenai Central 22

Thunder Mountain 73, Lumen Christi 16

Segerstrom (CA) 43, Dimond 40

Barrow 67, West Valley 38

Sitka 62, Kodiak 19

Minto 41, Ben Eielson 38

Mountain City 79, Tikigaq 48

Grace Christian 57, Ketchikan 38

Crook County (OR) 49, Bartlett 34

Mille Lacs 52 (MN), Klawock 32


Kotzebue 62, Kenai Central 38



Anchorage Wolverines 4, Chippewa Steel 3


Anchorage Wolverines 7, Chippewa Steel 2

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.