High School Sports

1A/2A state basketball: Tikigaq girls aim for back-to-back titles and boys seek to reclaim the top spot

March Madness will come to a crescendo for the top boys and girls high school basketball teams at the 1A and 2A level this week as they converge on Anchorage at the Alaska Airlines Center for the 2023 ASAA state championship tournament.

For the Tikigaq girls of Point Hope, their goal is to finish in the exact same spot they did last year — on top.

The defending 2A girls state champion Harpooners snapped their three-year title drought by running the table at the 2022 state tournament and after bringing back all but one player from last year’s team, they want to establish a title streak.

“That’s the goal,” Tikigaq girls coach Ramona Rock said. “We come in working hard all year long for regionals and to get through state.”

This year’s team is heading into state with confidence and championship pedigree, and the sense that they’re much improved thanks to their cohesion, continuity and the competition they’ve faced during the regular season.

Tikigaq went up against some of the best teams at the 4A and 3A levels as well as some out-of-state opponents in a tournament in Las Vegas.

“We’ve been blessed to be asked to be in a lot of really good tournaments,” Rock said. “I’m glad they come in (to games) confident and feel like they are ready to play.”


Tikigaq is coming off an absolutely dominant display, capturing its second straight Great Alaska Conference title by toppling regional opponents Dillingham and Unalakleet by a combined 155 to 44.

[Tikigaq boys and girls basketball teams rout Dillingham in opening round of 2A regions]

To be able to have their hard work pay off and be rewarded with a second straight state title would mean a lot not only to the team, but also their passionate fanbase and supportive community.

“We feel like we have a target on our backs, so we have to step up our game every time because we have to play for our community,” senior Jadyn Lane said. “We have a lot of people coming to watch us, and we just want to make our community proud.”

Their first game will be a quarterfinal matchup with No. 8 Craig on Thursday. Tipoff is at 6:15 p.m.

Tikigaq boys seek to reclaim the top spot

The Harpooners’ counterparts on the boys side are just as determined to succeed this week after coming up short of winning a third consecutive title at last year’s state tournament.

The Tikigaq boys fell short of making the finals after falling 78-73 in overtime to eventual 2A state runner-up Metlakatla.

“It took a last-second, buzzer-beater to force overtime, but it was a good shot and they were a great team we lost to,” Tikigaq boys head coach Teddy Frankson said.

The sting of that loss resonated with the team throughout the offseason and regular season as the Harpooners wanted to position themselves for an opportunity to reclaim the top spot.

“Guys were heartbroken and players were crying after the game, and then they put in more work and are more determined this year,” Frankson said.

The Harpooners dominated their level of competition this year with their only losses coming against teams from either out of state or the 3A and 4A levels. They’re riding a seven-game winning streak into the state tournament.

Tikigaq is also coming off a strong showing at regions, where it beat Dillingham and Unalakleet by a combined 148-96. The team’s title bout with the Wolpack went down to the wire before the Harpooners emerged victorious 81-79.

They are the third seed and will open the tournament with a quarterfinal matchup with sixth-seeded Wrangell on Thursday at 4:45 p.m.

Lumen Christi girls hope to make history

While both Harpooners hoops squads have won multiple titles in the past, the Lumen Christi girls team has yet to win its first while the Lumen boys team last won a title in 2021.

Under first-year head coach Kenny Barker, the Archangels will be looking to achieve that goal which has eluded them in their previous three state tournament berths this week.

“That’s what our goal was to start the season, that’s what we work for every day but we know we have to prove it on the court,” he said.

Unlike their previous trips to the state tourney, Lumen is entering its fourth as the top seed with the target on their backs.


“I think our girls have been extremely resilient, have worked really hard throughout the season to get the first-place bid,” Barker said.

The Archangels came into last year’s tournament as the second seed but finished in third place for the second year in a row after losing 45-34 to eventual 1A state runner-up Klawock in the semifinals.

This year’s team has a healthy blend of upperclassmen and younger players. Like the two Tikigaq teams, Lumen was tested by and even prevailed over some teams from high levels of competition, which included a double-digit win over 4A Service High.

“They were helping us get better,” Baker said. “Those games helped them reach their ceiling.”

The Archangels will start their quest for a title with a matchup against unranked Akiachak on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

1A/2A Alaska State Basketball Tournament

(All games at Alaska Airlines Center unless noted)

1A Girls



First round

Cook Inlet Academy vs. St. Mary’s, 8 a.m.

No. 1 Lumen Christi vs. Akiachak, 9:30 a.m.

Newhalen vs. Kake, 11 a.m.

No. 2 Shaktoolik vs. Akiuk (Kasigluk), 12:30 p.m.

No. 3 Tanalian (Port Alsworth) vs. Nunamiut (Anaktuvuk Pass), 3:15 p.m.

Klawock vs. Aqqaluk (Noorvik), 4:45 p.m.

Shishmaref vs. Walter Northway, 6:15 p.m.

No. 4 Buckland vs. Scammon Bay, 7:45 p.m.


Consolation (at Alaska Airlines Center Auxiliary gym)


Loser Klawock/Aqqaluk (Noorvik) vs. Loser Shaktoolik/Akiuk (Kasigluk), 8 a.m.

Loser Cook Inlet Academy/St. Mary’s vs. Loser Tanalian (Port Alsworth)/Nunamiut (Anaktuvuk Pass), 9:30 a.m.

Loser Newhalen/Kake vs. Loser Buckland/Scammon Bay, 3:15 p.m.

Loser Lumen Christi/Akiachak vs. Loser Shishmaref/Walter Northway, 4:45 p.m.


Winner Klawock/Aqqaluk (Kotzebue) vs. Winner Shaktoolik/Akiuk (Kasigluk), 8 a.m.


Winner Cook Inlet Academy/St. Mary’s vs. Winner Tanalian (Port Alsworth)/Nunamiut (Anaktuvuk Pass), 9:30 a.m.

Winner Newhalen/Kake vs. Winner Buckland/Scammon Bay, 3:15 p.m.

Winner Lumen Christi/Akiachak vs. Winner Shishmaref/Walter Northway, 4:45 p.m.

1A Boys


First round

Tri-Valley (Healy) vs. Buckland, 8 a.m.

Shaktoolik vs. Newhalen, 9:30 a.m.

No. 2 Cook Inlet Academy (Soldotna) vs. Emmonak, 11 a.m.

No. 3 Kake vs. Lumen Christi, 12:30 p.m.

No. 4 Napaaqtugmiut (Noatak) vs. Shishmaref, 3:15 p.m.

No. 1 Scammon Bay vs. Nunamiut (Anaktuvuk Pass), 4:45 p.m.

King Cove vs. Klawock, 6:15 p.m.

Nelson Island vs. Aniak, 7:45 p.m.


Consolation (at Alaska Airlines Center Auxiliary gym)

Loser Scammon Bay/Nunamiut (Anaktuvuk Pass) vs. Loser King Cove/Klawock, 11 a.m.

Loser Nelson Island/Aniak vs. Loser Napaaqtugmiut (Noatak)/Shishmaref, 12:30 p.m.

Loser Shaktoolik/Newhalen vs. Loser Kake/Lumen Christi, 6:15 p.m.

Loser Tri-Valley (Healy)/Buckland vs. Loser Cook Inlet Academy/Emmonak, 7:45 p.m.


Winner Scammon Bay/Nunamiut (Anaktuvuk Pass) vs. Winner King Cove/Klawock, 11 a.m.

Winner Nelson Island/Aniak vs. Winner Napaaqtugmiut (Noatak)/Shishmaref, 12:30 p.m.

Winner Shaktoolik/Newhalen vs. Winner Kake/Lumen Christi, 6:15 p.m.

Winner Tri-Valley (Healy)/Buckland vs. Winner Cook Inlet Academy/Emmonak, 7:45 p.m.

2A Girls



No. 2 Metlakatla vs. No. 7 Unalakleet, 11 a.m.

No. 3 Su-Valley vs. No. 6 Chevak, 12:30 p.m.

No. 1 Tikigaq vs. No. 8 Craig, 6:15 p.m.

No. 4 Haines vs. No. 5 Glennallen, 7:45 p.m.



Loser Metlakatla/Unalakleet vs. Loser Su-Valley/Chevak, 11 a.m.

Loser Tikigaq/Craig vs. Loser Haines/Glennallen, 12:30 p.m.


Winner Metlakatla/Unalakleet vs. Winner Su-Valley/Chevak, 3:15 p.m.

Winner Tikigaq/Craig vs. Winner Haines/Glennallen, 4:45 p.m.


4th/6th Place, 8 a.m. at Seawolf Sports Center

3rd/5th Place, 11 a.m. at Seawolf Sports Center

Championship, 6:30 p.m.

2A Boys



No. 2 Metlakatla vs. No. 7 Cordova, 8 a.m.

No. 1 Ninilchik vs. No. 8 Unalakleet, 9:30 a.m.

No. 4 Hooper Bay vs. No. 5 Petersburg, 3:15 p.m.

No. 3 Tikigaq vs. No. 6 Wrangell, 4:45 p.m.



Loser Ninilchik/Unalakleet vs. Loser Hooper Bay/Petersburg, 8 a.m.

Loser Tikigaq/Wrangell vs. Loser Metlakatla/Cordova, 9:30 a.m.


Winner Tikigaq/Wrangell vs. Winner Metlakatla/Cordova, 6:15 p.m.

Winner Ninilchik/Unalakleet vs. Winner Hooper Bay/Petersburg, 7:45 p.m.


4th/6th Place, 9:30 a.m. at Seawolf Sports Center

3rd/5th Place, 12:30 p.m. at Seawolf Sports Center

Championship, 8:30 p.m.

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.