PALMER — The Anchorage Christian girls basketball team captured the Class 3A state championship for the fourth time in five seasons with a dominant 75-26 victory over the Sitka Wolves on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions weren’t able complete their quest for a fourth straight title last year because COVID-19 canceled the 2020 postseason. They returned in 2021 with their minds set on unfinished business.
“It always feels good to win, but we just have a great group of girls who really put in the work and it really showed out there on the court,” ACS coach Chad Dyson said.
Senior Mykaila Pickard displayed lethal shooting from behind the arc at Palmer High School, draining six 3-pointers to not only help her team cruise to its third blowout of the tournament but to reach and eclipse an impressive career milestone.
Pickard entered the game several points shy of 1,000 career points. She crossed the threshold before halftime with her fifth 3-pointer of the game, and she didn’t stop there.
Pickard hit another triple and made a layup off a fast break in the second half to finish with a game-high 20 points.
“Someone mentioned it to her before the game. and she said that she wasn’t worried about it and if it happens it happens,” Dyson said. “She came out and she shot the ball really well so we kept trying to give it to her.”
Pickard, a member of three state championship teams, said her focus never wavered on the ultimate goal of going out as a champion.
“The whole time I was just focused on winning state,” she said. “Yeah, I wanted to get (to 1,000 points) but no matter what, this is about the team. It’s not about just me.”
Pickard had six of ACS’s 24 steals and was one of three double-figure scorers for the Lions. Junior Sarah Sorrels added 17 and sophomore Sayvia Sellers supplied 13 points, six steals and six assists while creating a strong presence in the paint.
Those three plus senior Sunny Pedebone made the all-tournament team.
“It feels good to know that we worked hard and earned it,” Pedebone said.
Though Sellers was the team’s standout throughout the season, Dyson said the Lions leaned heavily on the experience and poise of their seniors during their run through the state tournament.
ACS beat three opponents in three days by a total of 157 points for an average winning margin of 52.3 points.
“Seniors always play a big role in state just because they are kind of the backbone of everything,” Dyson said. “These girls have been here all through high school and know how the system works. Their leadership is what we’re looking for when it comes to games like this, and I think our seniors stepped up and played well tonight.”
ASAA/First National Bank Alaska
Emma Bent, Kenai
Tawny Smith, Sitka
Sunny Pedebone, ACS
Sarah Sorrells, ACS
Jocelyn Brady, Sitka
Sayvia Sellers, ACS
Laveah Makiski, Kotzebue
Macey Witrosky, Nome
Mykaila Pickard, ACS
Katrina Bast, Monroe Catholic