• No. 5 Ninilchik boys upset No. 2 Nikolaevsk 34-32
By Sean Pearson
The Nikolaevsk Lady Warrior basketball team picked up its first Peninsula Conference championship in school history after squeaking by Cook Inlet Academy 28-27 on Friday at Lumen Christi in Anchorage.
The Warrior win ended the CIA Lady Eagles’ three-year reign atop the conference, and earned Nikolaevsk their second trip to the State Tournament in as many years. This year, however, they enter the post-season tourney as the No. 1 seed.
In what Nikolaevsk Head Coach Bea Klaich called a “defensive struggle,” the low-scoring game saw single-digits in every quarter of play.
The two well-matched teams had split in regular-season play, and proved their competitiveness by staying within a few points of each other throughout the entire game. Nikolaevsk’s Kilina Klaich led the way with 11 points, while Sophia Kalugin added 6.
CIA stayed on top throughout much of the game, leading 6-5 after one quarter and 14-12 at the half. The Lady Warrior defense never let up, despite remaining two points behind after three quarters.
They stepped up to score when it really mattered.
Trailing 27-25 with just under three minutes left in the game, freshman Serafima Kalugin hit a crucial 3-pointer that ultimately gave Nikolaevsk the one-point win and the conference title.
The two teams are destined to meet again at the State Tournament, which opens March 16.
The No. 2-seed Nikolaevsk boys also battled it out in a close contest against the No. 5-seed Ninilchik Wolverines. The Warriors had beaten Ninilchik twice in regular-season play, but struggled with outside shooting on Friday, and fell 32-34.
The Wolverines looked strong as they headed into the final quarter with a 31-24 lead. But Nikolaevsk rallied to within two points, before missing several 3-point attempts for the win.
The Warriors were eliminated just short of the second-place semifinals, while the Wolverines moved on.
Ninilchik’s Jayke Cooper led all scorers with 17 points, while teammate Jack Wheeler added eight. Eric Mametieff scored 10 points for the Warriors.
Comments are closed