The top-seeded Anchorage Christian School girls basketball team continued its reign of dominance over Alaskan competition with an overwhelming 81-34 victory over fifth-seeded West in the semifinals of the 4A state tournament on Friday afternoon at the Alaska Airlines Center.
With the win, the Lions advanced to the program’s sixth straight title game and second in a row since moving up from the 3A level. They also extended their historic win streak to 118 consecutive victories against Alaskan teams.
“It feels good and I’m excited for the kids,” ACS girls coach Chad Dyson said. “They put in a lot of work this season, so being able to see their hard work pay off is awesome.”
The Lions were fueled by star senior point guard Sayvia Sellers and her game-high 30 points. However, it was her second-to-last bucket of the game that not only extended her team’s lead but also made history.
Heading into Friday’s matchup, she was just 25 points away from tying the girls state scoring record. By halftime, she was already sitting at 22 points, and after sinking a 3-pointer less then two minutes into the third quarter, she was tied.
With a slashing layup late in the third quarter in which she converted the attempt while drawing a foul, Sellers moved into first place on the all-time scorers list for girls high school basketball players, surpassing former Dimond multi-sport star Alissa Pili.
“Sayvia is incredible,” Dyson said. “She does everything we ask her to do, puts in extra work, is in the gym constantly looking to become better at basketball and she truly loves the game.”
Sellers first started watching Pili when she was in the eighth grade and the former Dimond High star was a senior leading the Lynx to a second straight state title.
She says it feels “pretty cool” to not only join one of her role models as one of the top scorers to ever grace the hardwood in the Last Frontier, but surpass Pili’s record as well.
“Going into my sophomore year, we were always at open gym and she’d come by so I’d see her quite a bit,” Sellers said.
Dyson said Sellers’ humility is almost as impressive as her play on the court.
“She doesn’t really care anything about it,” he said. “She had no idea where she was at until there were five games left in the season and I finally told her.”
The two most prolific girls high school scorers in state history will finally get a chance to compete against each other next year when Sellers’ University of Washington Huskies and Pili’s University of Utah Utes meet for their annual Pac-12 conference clashes.
“That will be pretty special and I think Alaska will enjoy that for sure,” Dyson said.
Sellers believes that the state tournament is the best part of the year, and she’s grateful to have made it every year of her high school career in which one was held.
“It feels good,” Sellers said. “The season is coming to an end, but it’s good to be here for the last couple games.”
Wasilla 48, Colony 40
Wasilla and Colony had already matched up four times this season before the two teams met on the Alaska Airlines Center court in Friday’s semifinals. The two teams had split those games, leaving Wasilla head coach Jeannie Hebert-Truax in the position of trying to unearth every possible edge with a berth in the 4A title game on the line.
The Warriors used 22 points from guard Mylee Anderson to vault into Saturday’s championship, where they face Anchorage Christian School in a rematch of last year’s title game.
“We went back and watched two videos before games that we have played, and we looked at the things that we did good and the things that we did bad,” Hebert-Truax said. “We tried to do the good things better and get rid of the bad things.
“It’s tough, it’s our fifth time playing them. We had a different defensive scheme and did some new things on offense, so I thought the kids did a good job.”
Wasilla got out to a 16-7 lead after the first quarter, and the two teams went back and forth for the rest of the game with Wasilla holding the lead.
Colony cut the Warriors’ lead to three at different points in the second half but could get no closer. Colony did a fine job of limiting Wasilla post Layla Hays, often putting multiple defenders on her as soon as she caught the ball. Hays finished with just 10 points but did grab 15 rebounds.
“We were prepared for them to double- and triple-team her,” Hebert-Truax said. “She did a good job of being patient and went to the basket a couple times. And then we told everyone else they had to hit some shots.”
And the Warriors were able to convert enough to earn the win. Kaydence Gittlein hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with six points. Livia Breshears finished with eight.
Hallie Clark was the leading scorer for Colony with 17 points.
The biggest issue for the Warriors was at the free-throw line, where they covered just 13 of 27 attempts.
“We are going to practice free throws,” Hebert-Truax said.
No. 2 Wasilla 60, No. 7 Lathrop 33
No. 5 West Anchorage 54, No. 4 Thunder Mountain 50
No. 3 Colony 53 No. 6 Juneau-Douglas 46
No. 1 Anchorage Christian 82, No. 8 Dimond 22
Thunder Mountain 53, Dimond 47
Juneau-Douglas 51, Lathrop 42
Anchorage Christian 81, West 43
Wasilla 48, Colony 40
Thunder Mountain vs. Juneau-Douglas, 10:30 a.m. at Seawolf Sports Center
West vs. Colony 10:30 a.m. at Auxiliary Gym
Anchorage Christian vs. Wasilla, 5:30 p.m.