Here is an update on the regional basketball tournament taking place in Sitka.
Craig 38, Wrangell 31 (girls)
The first round of the 2A Region V basketball tournament opened Thursday with a win for the top-seeded Craig Lady Panthers over the Wrangell Lady Wolves, 38 – 31.
Wrangell took an early lead in the game, and was ahead at the end of the first period, 9-4, but dropped behind by a point at halftime.
The Lady Panthers outscored Wrangell 13 – 7 in the 4th period to clinch it.
Craig junior Maggie Dinon led the Lady Panthers with 12. Sophomore Marie Yates put up 10 points.
Darian Meissner, also a sophomore, led Wrangell with 12 points. None of the other Lady Wolves scored in double-digits.
Craig advances to the finals against the Haines Lady Glacier Bears 11:30 AM on Friday. Wrangell moves to the losers bracket, where they’ll meet Metlakatla and compete for the #2 berth at state.
Metlakatla 61, Haines 40 (boys)
The Metlakatla Chiefs reasserted their position as the top-seeded 2A boys in the region this
year, with a 61 – 40 win over the Haines Glacier Bears.
Metlakatla’s size and strong inside game stymied the Glacier Bears, who attempted to compensate with speed down the court.
The Chief’s 6’6” center, senior John Henderson, was top scorer for the game with 18. After missing his first two free throws, Henderson was 6-for-8 from the line the rest of the night.
Also in double-digits for the Chiefs were juniors Tristan Alexander with 12, and Drew Yliniemi with 11.
The Glacier Bears had two players in double figures. Junior Isaac Wing and senior Caullen Taylor had 12 each.
The Metlakatla boys now advance to the final in the winner’s bracket, and will meet Craig in the final.
Haines 54, Metlakatla 47 (girls)
After capturing the lead in a dazzling third period of their tournament opener, the Metlakatla Lady Chiefs lost to the hard charging Haines Lady Glacier Bears 54 – 47 in overtime play.
Haines controlled play early, and maintained a steady scoring pace, but Metlakatla always stayed within striking distance. The Lady Chiefs then outscored Haines 17 to 8 in the third period to pull ahead.
The Lady Glacier Bears regained their composure in the 4th. Two clutch freethrows by Haines senior Riley Erekson with 18 seconds on the clock tied game.
The teams matched baskets in the first half of overtime play, but then a crucial turnover at mid-court cost the Lady Chiefs the ball, and Haines pulled ahead and remained there.
Riley Ereksen was top scorer in the game, with 21 points, 11 of them free throws. Sophomore Celia Bower scored 10.
Junior Monica Hayward and senior Shante Hudson-Cook led scoring for Metlakatla, with 11 points each.
The Lady Glacier Bears now move into the final in the winners’ bracket, where they’ll meet Craig Friday morning at 11:30 AM for the number 1 seed at the state tournament in Anchorage.
Metlakatla will play Wrangell in the losers bracket on Saturday at 11:30. The winner of that game will have a shot at the second state berth in 2A.
Craig 73, Wrangell 46 (boys)
The Craig Panthers ran away from the Wrangell Wolves in their 2A tournament opener on Thursday, 73 – 46.
To their credit, the Panthers played hard basketball the entire game, never going into a delay offense.
The Wolves earned every one of their 46 points against a team that had the advantage in both height and heft.
Wrangell got the early jump in the contest, and led 11 – 8 at the end of the first period. But that lead evaporated as Craig senior Karl Benolken came to life in the second, scoring 9 of his overall 18 points.
Panther senior Tim Glore did most of the heavy lifting in the second half, scoring 18 of his 20 total points.
Wrangell senior Ryan Reeves also had a fine night, scoring 14. Wrangell freshman — and future standout — Blake Stokes also sank 14, and went 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Stokes had the most memorable shot of the tournament so far: A three-pointer launched from mid-court right at the halftime buzzer.
Wrangell drops into the losers bracket, and will play Haines at 9:45 AM Friday for a shot at the second 2A berth at the state tournament.
The Craig Panthers will meet the Metlakatla Chiefs at 1:15 PM to see who will have the top seed from 2A in Region V.
The 2A, 3A, 4A tournament for Region V is being held this year at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka. It runs through Saturday.