• Lady Warrior Nianiella Dorvall named tournament MVP
By Sean Pearson
After opening last weekend’s Nenana Invitational Tournament with a convincing 62-28 victory over Huslia on Thursday, and a subsequent 49-23 schooling of Su Valley on Friday, the Nikolaevsk Lady Warrior basketball team looked destined for the top spot in the three days of tournament play.
Unfortunately, the Cook Inlet Eagles had other plans.
Nikolaevsk junior Nianiella Dorvall scored 21 points in the Lady Warrior’s opening-round win, shooting 10-19 from the field. She also picked up three assists, four blocks and seven rebounds. Sophia Kalugin scored 14 points off 66 percent shooting, while Kilina Klaich added 11.
Dorvall turned in another impressive performance against Su Valley, where she scored 10 points, picked up 14 rebounds and shot 62 percent from the field.
Nikolaevsk took a lopsided 30-6 lead into the half, and cruised through the second half on their way to victory.
“Overall, the Nenana Tournament was a lot of fun with great competition from both 1A and 2A teams,” said Nikolaevsk girls coach Bea Klaich. “My girls played well against both Huslia (expected to go to State out of their conference) and Su Valley.”
Cook Inlet Academy, however, was a totally different story.
We had a rough first half in the championship game against CIA,” Klaich said. “We got our act together in the second half, but it was not enough to win the game.”
Calling the Lady Warriors’ first-half shooting dismal is definitely an understatement, as they scored a scant three points, and trailed 15-3 at the break.
Nikolaevsk’s shooting improved in the second half, outscoring the Lady Eagles 18-17. But it was too little, too late.
“That was disappointing, as foul trouble plagued my ‘bigs,’ and we couldn’t get into a flow,” Klaich said. “It was really a strange game, but it’s always good to learn from mistakes and regroup.”
Dorvall again led the scoring with eight points, but the team shot a doleful 15 percent from the field overall, and was plagued with 19 turnovers.
“We get to play CIA next Tuesday on our floor, so hopefully turn things around and get a little redemption — so to speak,” Klaich said.
Three Lady Warriors were named to the NIT All-Tournament team, including Sophia Kalugin, Kilina Klaich and Serafima Kalugin. Dorvall was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
The Nikolaevsk boys stumbled in their first game of the NIT Tourney, falling to Fort Yukon 36-49. Neil Gordeev led the Warriors with 10 points, while Jonah Fefelov picked up nine. Shooting standout Jaruby Nelson struggled to find his rhythm in the game, scoring six points off 3-12 shooting. It probably didn’t help that he was playing with a dislocated shoulder.
“I’m not one for excuses, but that did slow me down some,” Nelson said. “Outside of that, I think we are really starting to gel. We won six of our last seven games in nine days.”
Nelson picked things up on the defensive side with 14 rebounds and four blocks. Gordeev also picked up three assists, four blocks and four rebounds.
The Warriors next game against Sand Point was quite the opposite, scoring-wise, as Nikolaevsk thundered to a 77-59 victory over the Eagles.
Gordeev scored 32 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, while Nelson came just one rebound short of picking up a triple-double. He scored 20 points, had 12 assists and picked up nine rebounds.
Overall, the team committed just 10 turnovers.
The Warriors big game of the tourney was a 41-38 squeaker over the CIA Eagles on Saturday.
Cook Inlet took a 20-17 lead into the half, before a 13-8 Warrior run gave Nikolaevsk a 30-28 lead going into the fourth and final quarter. Thanks to some well-rounded scoring from several players, the Warriors picked up the win, despite their meager 26 percent shooting from the field and 16 turnovers. The team was 5 for 23 from three-point range.
“I feel like there is still a lot for us to work on, but I feel very proud of how we performed this weekend,” said Jonah Fefelov. “I think we can make it to State this year if we work hard and really push for it.”
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