The Rewind: Alaskan skiers continued to shine, UAA basketball teams notch big wins and Anchorage-born coaches claim titles

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

The first week of the new year featured several impressive team and individual performances across the Alaska sports landscape at the prep, collegiate and professional levels. The reigning state basketball champions for the high school 4A boys division beat the defending champions from the 3A division. On the college scene, both of the University of Alaska Anchorage basketball teams extended their respective winning streaks with notable victories. Outside the state, several Alaskans had impressive showings, both nationally and internationally.

Headlines and highlights

There was plenty of prep basketball action that took place across the state last week, and one of the most competitive took place in town between the Betty Davis East Anchorage and Grace Christian boys varsity teams. The two reigning state champions in the 4A and 3A divisions played a tight game for the most part Friday before the Thunderbirds were able to distance themselves late and remain undefeated to open the new year with a 59-50 victory.

In college hoops action, the UAA men’s basketball team notched a big road victory over in-state rival UAF to establish a two-game winning streak and open the new year on the right foot. The game went into overtime and the Seawolves prevailed 64-58 thanks to strong defense and an efficient shooting outing from junior guard Dillon Barrientos, who knocked down 4-of-8 from 3-point range.

“That was a nice resilient win by our guys,” UAA head coach Rusty Osborne said in a statement. “Our defensive effort once again bailed us out of a poor offensive game. We have good shooters both from the floor and the free-throw line, so it is frustrating for all of us. These are great young men who care about each other, so I know they’ll put in the work to get better. It will be nice to finally return home next week.”

The UAA women’s team began 2024 the same way it closed out 2023: red-hot. The Seawolves extended their winning streak with a pair of victories this past week and the most notable was their 61-54 upset of No. 14 nationally ranked Western Washington. It marked their first win over the Vikings since 2020 and was highlighted by the return of senior guard Vishe’ Rabb. She scored a team-high 16 points in just 17 minutes of action in her first game back since suffering a torn ACL in the first round of the 2023 GNAC championship tournament.

“2024 has been good to us so far,” Rabb said. “We want to fix our standing in the conference. We’re on the wave and we don’t want to lose it, so there’s no looking back.”


[Vishe’ Rabb’s fabulous season debut propels a UAA upset and brings her comeback ‘full circle’]

The Seawolves rolled to their sixth win two days later with an 89-68 blowout of Simon Fraser on Saturday night. They were led in scoring by junior guard Senya Rabouin who dropped 21 points on her way to earning GNAC Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career.

“Senya is one of the hardest workers we have,” UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy stated. “It is super rare for a new player to come in and be one of the standard-setters for work ethic, and she played outstanding basketball against Western and Simon. Those are two defensive teams that can cause a lot of turnovers, and Senya did a great job of taking care of the ball against both.”

A week after closing out the 2023 portion of their schedule with a two-game series sweep on the road, the Anchorage Wolverines had the script flipped on them this past weekend when they got swept in a two-game series away from home by the Minnesota Wilderness. They lost both games by a single goal and were led in scoring over the two games by Anchorage forward Bryce Monrean, who scored a goal in Friday’s 3-2 loss and a pair in Saturday’s 4-3 defeat.

The Knik 200 Joe Redington Sr. Memorial Sled Dog Race took place over the weekend and featured mushers of various ages and experience levels but in the end, it was 16-year-old Emily Robinson who outpaced a field of competitors that included former Iditarod champions. A two-time junior Iditarod champ from Nenana, Robinson caught up to and passed 2022 Iditarod champion Brent Sass during the final stretch back to Knik Lake to claim victory by 1 minute, 5 seconds with a finishing time of one day 3 hours, 46 minutes.

Alaska stars shining Outside

Several Alaska skiers have had tremendous success nationally and internationally over the past week. At the U.S. Cross Country Nationals in Utah, Anchorage’s Luke Jager finished first in the men’s classic sprint race in a time of 3:46:50. APU teammate Michael Earnhart finished on the podium as well with a third-place finish and UAA’s Peter Hinds also finished fourth among college competitors. In the junior women’s final, APU’s Marit Flora placed second.

Fairbanks’ Kendall Kramer claimed a silver medal in the women’s 20-kilometer freestyle race on Friday.

Overseas, Team U.S. and Alaska Pacific University ski team members Rosie Brennan, Scott Patterson and Zanden McMullen took part in the final and most grueling race of the Tour de Ski in Val di Fiemme, Italy. Brennan came in 12th on Sunday and finished 12th overall just days after her second-place finish in the 20K classic pursuit race in Davos, Switzerland. Meanwhile, McMullen came in 36th and Patterson 42nd in the men’s division. Anchorage’s Gus Schumacher had his best career finished Wednesday when he came in fourth in the freestyle sprint race final.

[Alaskans Gus Schumacher and Rosie Brennan thrive at Tour de Ski]

Anchorage’s Tyree Wilson capped his rookie campaign for the Las Vegas Raiders with the best game of the season in a 27-14 win over the Denver Broncos in the final week of the regular season. The No. 7 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft recorded a sack, a solo tackle for loss, and single-game career-high four quarterback hits as he will enter the offseason on a high note after an up and down inaugural season before coming on strong down the stretch.

Anchorage’s Jack Green pulled off a hat trick, struck gold, and helped make history last Wednesday when he helped lead Team USA to a 6-4 victory over hosting Argentina in the futsal championship match of the Pan American Maccabi Games. The former West Anchorage high soccer and 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year led the team with a trio of goals and assisted on another in the Americans’ first ever gold medal in the soccer-based sport that is typically played indoors on a basketball court.

Anchorage’s Alissa Pili led the University of Utah women’s basketball team in scoring in a 71-70 loss to the University of Arizona on Sunday. The former Dimond High multi-sport star and reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year only shot 4-of-9 from the field but was able to do most of her damage from the charity stripe where she was 9-of-10.

Anchorage’s Sayvia Sellers reached double figures in points for the fifth time this season and the second time in the last three games in the University of Washington women’s basketball team’s 71-59 loss to Stanford on Sunday. The freshman guard and former Anchorage Christian School star only played 16 minutes but was able to knock down 4-of-6 shots, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc for 11 points, which was the third-most for the Huskies.

Anchorage’s Damarion Delaney scored 20-plus points for the sixth time this season in the Spokane Community College men’s basketball team’s 89-83 loss to Treasure Valley on Saturday. The former Bettye Davis East Anchorage star was the second-leading scorer for the Bigfoot with 20 points that included going 8-of-15 shooting and knocking down a trio of three-pointers. His fellow Thunderbirds alum and Sellers’ older brother, Jahbez Sellers, recorded a double-double with 14 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds.

Anchorage’s David Carle coached Team USA hockey to a gold medal finish at the World Junior Championship overseas in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Friday with a 6-2 victory over Sweden. The 34-year-old already had a junior gold medal as a player and adds to his already illustrious resume as a coach that also includes a pair of NCAA national titles both as an assistant and the head coach of Denver University in 2017 and 2022, respectively.

[Coach from Anchorage guides University of Denver hockey to a national title, grateful for a chance to give back]

Anchorage’s Zach Lujan helped lead the South Dakota State University football team to a successful title defense Sunday when the Jackrabbits blew out the University of Montana Grizzlies 23-3 in the 2023 FCS national title game. The former South Anchorage high and SDSU alum serves as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and his unit averaged 37.3 points and 449.9 total yards of offense per game and scored 73 total touchdowns in 15 games this season as he continues to establish himself as one of the brightest young coaches in the country.


[Bleeding blue: Former Anchorage football standout Zach Lujan’s journey has taken him to a national stage]

Fast forward



Alaska Prep Shootout and T-Bird Classic

The 2023-2024 season will be back in full swing this week with a pair of big tournaments going down in town later this week. The 30th annual Alaska Prep Shootout will take place at Dimond and run from Thursday to Saturday and the T-Bird Classic will be taking place across town at East on the same dates.


West v. Dimond, Saturday at 6 p.m. at Ben Boeke Arena

Two of the top three teams in the Cook Inlet Conference heading into this week will face off this weekend.



Women’s basketball

UAA v. UAF, Saturday at 5:15 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Center

The Seawolves will be looking to maintain momentum and extend their six-game winning streak this weekend when they host their instate rival Nanooks. The teams split their regular-season series last year with UAF winning the first in an upset and UAA taking the second in a blowout.

Men’s basketball

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

The Seawolves will be back in front of the home fans for the first time since November with a pair of games against GNAC opponents. First up will be a Thursday night bout with the Wildcats followed by a game with the Northwest Nazarene University Nighthawks on Saturday.

Last week’s results

Boys Hockey


Kodiak 4, Delta 2


Kodiak 7, Tri-Valley 2


Kenai Central 5, Soldotna 3


Kodiak 8, Delta 1

Boys Basketball


Scammon Bay 75, Akiachak 37


Hooper Bay 87, St. Mary’s 49


Minto 69, Fort Yukon 21

Lathrop 68, Juneau-Douglas 65

Hooper Bay 86, Chevak 63

Tok 81, Allakaket 10

Dimond 62, Ketchikan 52

Colony 47, Monroe Catholic 46

Scammon Bay 87, Emmonak 58


Metlakatla 72, Craig 46

Valdez 74, Unalakleet 30

Dimond, 72 Ketchikan 71

Juneau-Douglas 77, Colony 72

Nome 68, Kotzebue 32

Petersburg 41, Wrangell 32

Minto 78, Tri-Valley 34

Ninilchik 69, Glennallen 24

Seward 76, Nikiski 38

East 59, Grace Christian 50

Homer 50, Kenai 39

Scammon Bay 72, Hooper Bay 70

Gambell 72, Koyuk Malimiut 27

Metlakatla 72, Craig 46

Tok 67, Walter Northway 59

Gambell 61, James C Isabell 59


Hooper Bay 76, Chevak 61

Cook Inlet Academy 79, Glennallen 59

Unalakleet 59, Kotzebue 52

Minto 76, Tok 40

Lathrop 65, Colony 63

Gambell 67, Koyuk Malimiut 35

Valdez 63, Kotzebue 44

Juneau-Douglas 53, Monroe Catholic 50

Soldotna 71, Kodiak 48

Nome-Beltz 74, Unalakleet 40

Minto 82, Tok 49

Gambell 64, James C Isabell 63

Hooper 63, Scammon Bay 61

Girls Basketball


Hooper Bay 71, St. Mary’s 32


Minto 72, Tok 29

Chevak 53, Hooper Bay 50

Colony 44, Monroe Catholic 40


Hooper Bay 55, Emmonak 26

Tri-Valley 44, Minto 39

Glennallen 49, Ninilchik 17

Minto 54, Jimmy Huntington 49

Homer 43, Kenai Central 25

Seward 47, Nikiski 36

Juneau-Douglas 58, Ketchikan 37

Wrangell 29, Petersburg 27

Chevak 71, Ket’acik/Aapalluk 49


Barrow 75, Bartlett 41

Unalakleet 60, Kotzebue 50

Walter Northway 68, Minto 36

Hooper Bay 49, Ket’acik/Aapalluk 32

Colony 63, Lathrop 10

Valdez 44, Kotzebue 32

Metlakatla 57, Craig 16

Juneau-Douglas 45, Ketchikan 40


Women’s Basketball


UAA 61, Western Washington 54


UAA 89, Simon Fraser 68

Men’s Basketball

UAA 64, UAF 58 (OT)



Minnesota Wilderness 3, Anchorage Wolverines 2


Minnesota Wilderness 4, Anchorage Wolverines 3

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.