High School Sports

Anchorage Christian School repeats as Alaska’s 4A girls basketball champion

If there was pressure on the Anchorage Christian School girls basketball team in Saturday’s 4A championship game, the Lions didn’t feel it.

ACS had cruised to the title in 2022, the team’s first year in 4A. Expectations loomed large in 2023, but the Lions never wavered, topping Wasilla 57-38 on Saturday to take the Alaska 4A girls basketball state title.

“Staying level-headed was the key,” ACS head coach Chad Dyson said after his team’s win at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Gatorade player of the Year Sayvia Sellers, who led the team with 32 points, said the squad put in the work and the expectations took care of themselves.

“We’re just excited,” Sellers said. “This is what we’ve worked for all season ... We were feeling confident all season long. I feel like this team works really hard so when moments like this come, we stay level-headed.”

With the win, ACS earned its sixth straight state title after taking four at the 3A level before moving up to 4A last season.

The first quarter was close with ACS taking a 15-14 lead into the second quarter. From there, the Lions started to pull away. Sellers scored 19 of her points in the first half and the Lions led 30-21. It was the third time the two teams had faced off this season, with Wasilla providing a competitive game against ACS each time.


But Sellers said converting on the team’s own game plan was the Lions’ main focus.

“Just play our game,” Sellers said. “We’ve played Wasilla a couple times this season so we were prepared for them, but we just needed to play our game.”

[Short on experience but long on talent, Grace Christian girls win Alaska 3A state basketball title]

ACS didn’t pull away in the second half, but Wasilla couldn’t keep the game to within single digits as the game progressed.

Layla Hays scored 19 points for Wasilla and teammate Mylee Anderson added nine. Wasilla will return nearly its entire starting lineup next year and should be a strong contender to return to the championship game for a third straight season.

“(Wasilla coach) Jeannie (Hebert-Truax) is such a great coach,” Dyson said. “They’re a well-coached group of girls and they always come out to compete. It’s not a rivalry but our girls get along with their girls really well. We enjoy competing with them.”

Nyamach Mathot had eight points for ACS and Chloe Auble scored six. Sellers also added six rebounds and a game-high five steals.

While Sellers has been a focus for many spectators and opponents, the Lions still had depth and talent throughout their roster.

“I love my team,” Sellers said. “They all work hard and it’s easy to trust them with the ball.”

Dyson said the team has developed and succeeded with hard work, high expectations and humility.

“Holding yourself to a high standard,” Dyson said. “Christ calls us to be excellent but not arrogant, so we want to come out and represent him well both on and off the court.”

Girls 4A state basketball tournament


First round

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



4th/6th place

Juneau-Douglas 53, Thunder Mountain 46

3rd/5th place

Colony 64, West 34


Anchorage Christian 57, Wasilla 38

4A Girls All-Tournament Team

Mylee Anderson, Wasilla; Morgan Maldonado, Anchorage Christian; Skylar Tuckwood, Juneau-Douglas; Tonya Karpow, West; Chloe Auble, Anchorage Christian; Hallie Clark, Colony; Sayvia Sellers, Anchorage Christian; Cailynn Baxter, Thunder Mountain; Layla Hays, Wasilla; Nyamach Mathot, Anchorage Christian.

Chris Bieri

Chris Bieri is the sports and entertainment editor at the Anchorage Daily News.