The Rewind: Repeat champions and upsets highlight 3A and 4A state basketball, Wolverines bounce back and APU skiers win national sprint titles

Mar. 25—Welcome to The Rewind, a weekly digest that puts a spotlight on the biggest stories and best performances from Alaska's world of sports.

This past week featured several notable individual and team performances across the Alaska sports landscape at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. The 2023-24 prep basketball postseason came to a close with some dominant performances and dramatic finishes. On the college scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage ski team had a pair of skiers medal at the Canadian national championships. Outside the state, several Alaskans had impressive performances at the collegiate and pro levels.

Headlines and highlights

The 2023-24 high school basketball postseason came to an end over the weekend with the 3A and 4A state championship tournaments. Saturday's title bouts saw a pair of defending champions pull of a repeat and a pair of perennial contenders return to the mountain top.

With a stellar performance on both ends of the court, the Bettye Davis East Anchorage boys basketball team capped off an undefeated season against in-state competition with a 60-34 blowout win of Thunder Mountain to claim a second straight 4A state championship.

[East boys dominate Thunder Mountain to win back-to-back 4A basketball state championships]

After coming up short in each of the past two 4A girls state championship games, Wasilla bested rival Colony 35-32 in a battle of Mat-Su powerhouses to snap a seven-year title drought.

[Third time's the charm: Wasilla girls rally to beat rival Colony and claim 4A state basketball title]

The Nome-Beltz boys team made it to the 3A state final for the third year in a row and claimed its second championship during that span in dramatic fashion on a last-second 3-pointer to surprise top-seeded and undefeated Mt. Edgecumbe 63-61.

[Hoogendorn's game-winner vaults Nome-Beltz to 3A boys basketball title]

The Grace Christian girls team successfully defended its 3A state title by taking down top-seeded Barrow 35-27, led by 2024 Gatorade Player of the Year Sophie Lentfer and fellow junior standout Ella Boerger.

[With stellar half-court defense, Grace Christian girls top Barrow to repeat as 3A state champs]

While the Grace Christian boys fell short of repeating as 3A state champions, senior Kellen Jedlicka still has something to smile about. He was named the Alaska 2024 Gatorade Player of the Year following a season in which he averaged 24 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists through 26 games and posted a shooting percentage of 63 percent while guiding the Grizzlies to another Peninsula Conference title.

"He's an outstanding player who controls the game with his (smarts) and manipulates defenses to make the game easier for his teammates," West Anchorage coach Josh Muehlenkamp said in a statement. "Whether scoring, passing, defending or communicating on defense, he sees the game at a higher level than most high school players."

On the college scene, the UAA ski team had a very strong showing at the Canadian National Championships in Red Mountain in British Columbia this past week. The Seawolves had a pair of medalists and eight top-10 finishes with junior Jan Ronner posting the highest finish by winning a silver medal in the slalom and fellow junior Ashleigh Alexander claimed a bronze medal in the giant slalom.

The UAA gymnastics team competed in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships on Saturday and was led by impressive performances from Claudia Lessig with a 38.400 all-around mark and Maddy Murphy, who shined on vault. The Seawolves finished with a 191.750 team score and their 48.575 vault total tied for fifth-best in program history.

UAA freshman Vivien Liessfeld earned GNAC Women's Field Athlete of the Week after posting a strong all-around performance in the heptathlon Friday in California. She racked 4,521 points to move into third on the Division II performance list. Her top marks came in the long jump with a jump of 18 feet, 6 inches (5.64 meters) and the javelin with a throw of 109-8 (33.43 meters).

A pair of out-of-state youth skiers dominated the U16 Western Region Alpine Championships at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood over the weekend. Wyoming skier Taylor Moe won the slalom, giant slalom and swept the girls super-G races Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Luca Peterson of Truckee, California, who skis for Team Palisades Tahoe, completed the same feat by sweeping the slalom, giant slalom and super-G in runaway fashion.

[Moe, Peterson dominate the competition in U16 West Region Alpine Championships]

The Anchorage Wolverines bounced back from having their franchise-record win streak snapped by continuing their domination of the Last Frontier with a sweep of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in a two-game road series last weekend. Anchorage romped 82 Friday and came out on top 6-5 in overtime the following night. The Wolverines had nine players score over the course of the two games and were led in scoring by Anchorage's Bryce Monrean while fellow local product Camden Shasby scored the game-winner Saturday. With the wins, Anchorage now has 36 on the season, which is more than Fairbanks and the Kenai River Brown Bears have combined at 35.

[Camden Shasby will add to family's hockey legacy as newest member of Anchorage Wolverines]

Alaska stars shining Outside

Alaska Pacific University ski team members JC Schoonmaker and Novie McCabe cruised to national championship victories Saturday in Duluth, Minnesota, at the 2024 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Super Tour Finals and Spring Nationals. They both won the classic sprint finals for their respective divisions at the Spirit Mountain Recreation Area with Schoonmaker edging his APU teammate Zanden McMullen in the finals by nearly one second while McCabe won the women's sprint finals by .36 seconds.

Anchorage's Alissa Pili led the University of Utah women's basketball team to a 68-54 win over South Dakota State University on Saturday to advance to the next round of the NCAA Tournament. The former Dimond multisport star led the Utes with a game-high 26 points and finished with seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Anchorage's Sayvia Sellers played well in the final game of her freshman season for the University of Washington women's basketball team Thursday in a 64-56 loss to Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Invitational Tournament. The former Anchorage Christian School star played 34 minutes, led the Huskies with 15 points that included knocking down a trio of 3-pointers, and recorded three assists.

Fairbanks' Daishen Nix recently reached double figures in scoring in back-to-back games for the Iowa Wolves, the NBA G-League team affiliated with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In a 118-96 loss to the Mexico City Capitanes on March 16, Nix recorded 15 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds. The following day in a 122-117 loss to the same opponent, he dropped 18 points and corralled seven rebounds.

Two Alaskans faced off Thursday on the first day of the NCAA wrestling championships. Anchorage's Evan Bockman of Utah Valley University edged out Palmer's Levi Hopkins of Campbell University in the men's 197-pound weight division. In the second match between two Last Frontier legends, Bockman was able to emerge victorious yet again and this time it came in a 3-2 double overtime thriller where he used a riding time advantage to advance to Day 2, where he narrowly lost to Northern Iowa's Wyatt Voelker who used riding time to beat out 3-2.

Fast Forward


Anchorage Wolverines vs Fairbanks Ice Dogs, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at Ben Boeke Ice Arena

The hometown junior hockey team will be back in action against its in-state rival for the second weekend in a row except this time it will be on their home ice.

Last week's results


Boys Basketball


Valdez 34, Barrow 31

Mt. Edgecumbe 66, Hutchison 20

Nome-Beltz 55, Houston 39

Grace Christian 51, Seward 30

Service 55, Wasilla 41

Thunder Mountain 53, West Valley 51 (OT)

Bettye Davis East 55, Palmer 36

Monroe Catholic 53, West Anchorage 43


Barrow 53, Hutchison 35

Houston 51, Seward 43

Mt. Edgecumbe 67, Valdez 38

Nome-Beltz 48, Grace Christian 41


Barrow 66, Seward 42

West Valley 57, Wasilla 42

West Anchorage 69, Palmer 62

Thunder Mountain 48, Service 45 (OT)

Bettye Davis East 45, Monroe Catholic 39


Valdez 52, Grace Christian 47

West 41, West Valley 40

Service 49, Monroe Catholic 45

Nome-Beltz 63, Mt. Edgecumbe 61

East 60, Thunder Mountain 34

Girls Basketball


Colony 62, North Pole 33

Wasilla 47, Bartlett 22

Thunder Mountain 58, Dimond 44

Mountain City Christian Academy 59, Service 54

Mt. Edgecumbe 75, Homer 39

Monroe Catholic 56, Bethel 25

Barrow 74, Sitka 48

Grace Christian 56, Valdez 19


Sitka 60, Homer 32

Bethel 38, Valdez 36

Grace Christian 36, Monroe Catholic 24

Barrow 58, Mt. Edgecumbe 45


Service 56, Bartlett 23

Dimond 56, North Pole 52

Colony 69, Thunder Mountain 35

Wasilla 54, Mountain City Christian Academy 43

Sitka 56, Bethel 53


Monroe Catholic 51, Mt. Edgecumbe 49

Dimond 47, Service 36

Mountain City 52, Thunder Mountain 37

Grace Christian 49, Barrow 38

Wasilla 35, Colony 32



Anchorage Wolverines 8, Fairbanks Ice Dogs 2


Anchorage Wolverines 6, Fairbanks Ice Dogs 5 (OT)