Elaina Mack, the Player of the Year in Class 1A girls basketball, caught fire and scorched the Tri-Valley Warriors to lead the undefeated King Cove Rookies to a 72-34 win in Saturday’s state championship game.
It’s the Rookies’ second girls title in program history, with their first coming in 2004. The win capped a 30-0 season.
“It feels great. I don’t know how you can feel much better,” coach Gary Lamar said.
Mack, a junior who averaged 37.5 points per game during a 26-0 regular season, had a stellar game with 30 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals.
“I’ve always tried to do my best and step up during big games like this,” she said. “I mean, this was the biggest game of the tournament so I had to step up for my team.”
The game was a one-sided affair from the opening tipoff. The Rookies smothered the Warriors with their full-court press and forced numerous turnovers.
The Rookies jumped out to a 19-9 first-quarter lead and extended it to 38-21 heading into the locker room. Mack had 18 of her team’s points.
After the break, Mack continued her scoring onslaught, enabling the Rookies to run away with the lead and amass a 40-point lead with just under three minutes left in the fourth quarter before coach Gary Lamar subbed in his reserves.
Along with Mack’s monster performance, fellow all-state selection junior Jalaya Duarte contributed a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double.
Together, Lamara said, Mack and Duarte are "the best one-two punch in Alaska.”
The Rookies dominated Tri-Valley on both sides of the floor. Offensively, they shot 39 percent from the field (30 of 76) and 41 percent from 3-point land (10 of 24). Defensively, the Rookies nabbed 14 steals while forcing the Warriors into 27 turnovers.
Defense was the biggest factor, according to Lamar.
“The pressure that we put on the ball makes it hard for people to sustain during the entire game,"he said.
Jazmyn Byfuglien led the Warriors with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Klawock 50, St. Mary’s 37
Powered by freshman Kenai Holien’s 24 points, the Klawock Chieftains took down the St. Mary’s Eagles to nab third place.
The Chieftains outrebounded the Eagles 50-42 and forced them into 21 turnovers.
Alexia Isaacs added 13 points for Klawock. St. Mary’s was led by senior Johanna Prince and freshman Traci Evan, who contributed 10 points apiece.
Buckland 54, Kake 36
Buckland’s six-girl roster handily defeated Kake to secure fourth place.
Senior Jacquelyn Berlin led Buckland with a game-high 16 points and sophomore Bethany Ticket pitched in with 11 points.
Kake was led by junior Willow Jackson’s 11 points.
Rachel Cockman, Tri-Valley
Jazmyn Byfuglien, Tri-Valley
Kenai Holien, Klawock
Johanna Prince, St. Mary’s
Jalaya Duarte, King Cove
Elaina Mack, King Cove
Sadie Newton, King Cove
Elizabeth Fefelov, Nikolaevsk
Mamie Kirk, Buckland
Naomi Snyder, Noorvik
Willow Jackson, Kake
Johanna Nanalook, Newhalen
Kayla Morgan, Aniak
Sonja Ningeulook, Shishmaref
Sarah Stenek, Shishmaref
Leah Kozevnikoff, Russian Mission