The Rewind: UAA basketball teams pull off upsets, Seawolves hockey soars and Alaskan shines at the NFL combine

Mar. 4—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 noteworthy individual and overall team performances across the Alaska sports landscape at the prep, collegiate and professional levels. The 2023-24 prep basketball regular season at the highest levels came to a close with impressive hot streaks and upsets. On the college scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage hockey team bounced back with a prolific sweep while the men's and women's basketball teams ended the regular season on high notes. Outside the state, several Alaskans had impressive performances at the collegiate and professional levels.

Headlines and highlights

The 2023-24 high school basketball regular season for the 3A and 4A levels came to a close last week and saw a handful of the top teams end it on a hot streak while others suffered stunning defeats.

In girls 4A action, Wasilla pulled off what no other Alaska team had managed to do since the 2015-16 season when the Warriors completed a sweep of two-time defending state champion Mountain City Christian Academy with a 55-51 upset on the road last Tuesday.

"It was a big team effort," said junior Mylee Anderson, who led the team with 13 points. "We're never counting on one or two people. We're always depending on each other and our bench and executing what our coach says."

[Wasilla girls basketball pulls off season sweep of Mountain City Christian Academy with 55-51 victory]

The Warriors were unable to secure the No. 1 seed in the Northern Lights Conference later in the week after they were defeated on their home court by rival Colony, which emerged victorious 50-48 on Friday night. The Knights now head into the postseason with the longest active winning streak at the 4A level with 13 straight.

On the boys side, defending 4A state champion Bettye Davis East Anchorage officially completed an undefeated season against Alaska competition with its lone loss of the entire year coming against St. Joseph of California in the 2024 Alaska Airlines Classic. The Thunderbirds finished the season with double-digit wins over Dimond and crosstown rival West Anchorage this past week to head into the playoffs on a 14-game heater.

In Alaska college hoops, the UAA women's and men's teams capped their 2023-24 regular seasons with notable victories over formidable opponents on senior night Saturday. The women's team sent lone senior Vishe' Rabb out on top with a thrilling 84-72 overtime win over Montana State Billings, which came into the matchup ranked second in the region and No. 9 nationally. It marked the Seawolves third victory over a nationally ranked opponent this season with the other two being a sweep of GNAC power Western Washington.

"We love (Vishe') so much and we really wanted this win for her and it helped motivate us to have her last home game be a win and a big win at that," said junior forward/center Tori Hollingshead who recorded a game-high 22 points. "I don't know what hits us, but when we're going against someone big, we just hit the gas and keep going."

[UAA women's basketball beats nationally ranked Montana State Billings in overtime]

The men's team didn't need overtime to beat the top-seeded Yellowjackets 84-76 in regulation but it required them having to overcome a pair of double-digit deficits to pull it off and secure their spot in the GNAC tournament. The Seawolves closed out the game with a 25-8 run and had five players reach double figures in scoring, including four seniors.

"We were able to just stay in the fight as coach (Rusty Osborne) always says and took it one possession at a time," said senior Tyson Gilbert who finished second on the team in scoring with 17 points. "We were able to string along some plays at the end of the game right there and come out with the win."

[UAA men's basketball erases multiple double-digit deficits to beat Montana State Billings]

The UAA hockey team came into this past week's two-game series against Stonehill looking to bounce back from being shut out in the last game they played. The Seawolves responded with a pair of historic blowout victories on back-to-back nights.

"Anytime you get shut out, you want to have a good response and find the back of the net and hopefully get a couple guys going," UAA head coach Matt Shasby said.

On Friday, the Seawolves were led to a 9-3 victory by the first career hat trick of senior forward Ben Almquist. The following night, they topped that prolific scoring outing thanks in large part to junior forward Max Helgeson of Anchorage who accounted for six points including a hat trick of his own and a trio of assists in a 12-2 triumph. The two results were the most and third-most goals recorded in program history since the 1992 season.

"You always want to score a hat trick when you're in college before you graduate, and being able to do it with only a handful of games left was really special, and I'm glad I was able to check that off my collegiate list," Almquist said.

[UAA men's hockey uses most potent offensive outing in decades to sweep Stonehill]

Four UAA athletes earned All-Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association honors last week, including senior Leon Nikic who was the only one to receive first-team honors after posting seven podium finishes this season, including winning the slalom at the DU Invite and being named RMISA 2023-24 MVP in men's giant slalom. He will be making his third appearance at the NCAA National Championships next week. The other three Seawolves that received second-team All RMISA honors were Ella Bromee, Ainsley Proffit and Astrid Stav.

[UAA Alpine skier Leon Nikic is making the most of his 'last dance' with a sensational senior season]

UAA standout freshman Joshua Caleb will be continuing his sizzling start to his collegiate career at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships this weekend. The announcement came last Tuesday after he earned GNAC Performance of the Meet honors for winning conference titles in the 60 with a 6.70 and the 200 with a 21.18, setting conference records in both events the previous weekend.

"Joshua has had a tremendous start to his college career," UAA head coach Ryan McWilliams said in a statement. "It's really great to enjoy what he has accomplished so far, but I know he will continue to work hard to achieve more."

The Tour of Anchorage was contested Sunday with races going across Anchorage trails from Service High to Kincaid Park. In the most competitive event, the 50K freestyle, the event featured a pair of repeat winners.

Former Olympian Rosie Frankowski finished the race in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 22 seconds, to win the women's division for a second straight time and a fourth overall. On the men's side, Thomas O'Harra won for a second straight time, earning a third title in total. His time of 2:06:55 was more than a minute faster than his next closest competitor.

[Rosie Frankowski, Thomas O'Harra repeat as Tour of Anchorage champions]

The Anchorage Wolverines pulled off yet another series sweep for the third week in a row by notching a pair of wins over the in-state rival Kenai River Brown Bears over the weekend. The Wolverines avoided an upset with 3-2 shootout victory Friday night at home and then went on the road Saturday and came home with a 4-2 regulation win. Anchorage had five players record a goal over the two-day span with Taisetsu Ushio and Arvega Hovsepyan each scoring two apiece. With the wins, Anchorage has won eight straight games and moved into second place in the NAHL's Midwest Division standings behind the Wisconsin Windigo.

"It's been an accumulation of just showing up every day, doing the right things, and trying to be a little bit better each day," Wolverines coach Nick Walters said. "Just coming to the rink with a purpose."

[Anchorage Wolverines make it 7 straight with shootout win over Kenai River]

Alaska stars shining Outside

Anchorage's Edefuan Ulofoshio was among 321 prospects that participated in the 2024 NFL scouting combine this past week and put on quite the show during Thursday's athletic testing and on-field workouts. The former South Anchorage product's vertical leap of 39.5 inches and broad jump of 10-foot-8 ranked first among all linebackers and his 40-yard dash time of 4.56 and 10-yard split of 1.59 were the sixth and fifth-fastest of the position group. Ulofoshio also performed well in drills, looking the most natural in coverage and showing the best hands of his fellow off-ball linebackers. Analysts expect his draft stock to be on the rise over the next six weeks ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft in late April.

[Edefuan Ulofoshio is poised to be the next Alaskan in the NFL]

Seward's Lydia Jacoby successfully defended her title in the 100 breaststroke and broke her own meet record in the process at the Big 12 Swimming Championships in Morgantown, W.V., on Friday. The two-time Olympic medalist and sophomore at the University of Texas-Austin had to come from behind in the final 25 yards but was able to finish first with a time of 57.27 seconds, besting the meet record of 57.29 she set last season as a freshman. The time also established a pool record.

Two of the best basketball players from Alaska to ever grace the hardwood faced off for the second time this season. This time around, it was Sayvia Sellers and the University of Washington's women's team that got the best of Alissa Pili and the University of Utah in a 62-47 upset Saturday night. Sellers of Anchorage Christian School, recorded 13 points for the second game in a row and went 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Pili of Dimond fame, was held to her lowest point total of the season with just five although she did have 10 rebounds.

Wasilla's Sullivan Menard had a very strong showing in helped lead the Whitworth University men's basketball team to a second round appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament Friday. In a 78-73 overtime win over Cal Lutheran, Menard finished with 16 points that included hitting a game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute of regulation.

Despite dropping a game-high 27 points the following night, the 2019 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year and former Colony star and the Pirates came up short 69-67 in the second round to Claremont-M-S on Saturday night.

Anchorage's Rosie Brennan recorded her 13th top-10 finish of the 2023-24 World Cup season on Saturday in Lathi, Finland. Her time of 53:42.8 in the women's Lahti 20K classic was the fastest time by an American and was just over a minute off a top-five finish.

"The conditions were wet and soft but honestly not that bad by Lahti standards," Brennan said via "This place has some of the toughest waxing on the circuit. The course demands a lot technically and physically so I felt that focusing solely on good skiing was my best chance to put together a decent race. Going in to today, I had no expectations, knowing that my body is far from it's best. But I love klister skiing, so I felt like that if I just focused on good skiing, I might be able to have an OK race."

Anchorage's Damarion Delaney led the Spokane Community College men's basketball team to a 101-62 victory over Walla Walla on Wednesday. The former East standout led the Bigfoot with 21 points off the bench after going 7-of-14 from the field and finished with five rebounds as well.

Fast Forward



Region IV championship tournament

The 2023-24 high school basketball postseason will officially be getting underway at the 4A level this week and here in town, the Cook Inlet Conference teams will be facing off with bids for the 2024 ASAA state championship tournament on the line. Action will begin Tuesday night with the fifth and sixth seeds in boys and girls divisions hosting the seventh and eighth seeds and then the rest of the tournament will take place at West from Thursday to Saturday.



UAA vs Arizona State, 7:07 Friday and 5:07 p.m. Saturday at Avis Alaska Sports Complex

The surging Seawolves will close out the regular season on home ice, where they'll take on the Sun Devils in a two-game series, hoping to extend their winning streak and end the year on the highest note possible.


Anchorage Wolverines vs Springfield Jr. Blues, Friday at 7 p.m. at Ben Boeke Ice Arena

The hometown junior hockey team will be back at home for the fourth weekend in a row, where it will host their Midwest Division foes for a three-game series. Puck drops at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Last week's results

Boys Basketball


West 68, Colony 61


Nenana 59, Effie Kokrine Charter 49

North Pole 60, Ben Eielson 37

Grace Christian 54, Seward 46

West 64 Bartlett 62 (OT)

Houston 46, Redington 38

Mountain City 59, Wasilla 52

Service 71, Eagle River 42

Mt. Edgecumbe 76, Sitka 40

West Valley 55, Lathrop 43

East 57, Dimond 33

Chugiak 66, South 51

White Mountain 68, Brevig Mission 63

Shishmaref 68, James C Isabell 55


Klawock 96, Hoonah 21

Tukurngailnguq 80, White Mountain 53

Manokotak 66, Togiak 52

White Mountain 71, Aniguiin 32

Scammon Bay 87, Pilot Station 13

Bristol Bay 53, Newhalen 48


Alak 53, Kali 17

Nunamiut 80, Nuiqsut Trapper 35

Lumen Christi 44, Birchwood Christian 39

Susitna Valley 81, Effie Kokrine Charter 49

West Valley 72, North Pole 21

Grace Christian 73, Nikiski 34

Redington 51, Homer 40

Monroe Catholic 69, Lathrop 35

Palmer 72, Mountain City 53

Cook Inlet Academy 64, Nanwalek 39

Scammon Bay 82, Russian Mission 33


Hooper Bay 71, Chevak 43

Birchwood Christian 73, Holy Rosary Academy 27

Susitna Valley 61, Nenana 38

King Cove 79, Koliganek 40

Barrow 55, Sitka 37

Soldotna 69, Palmer 64

Eagle River 73, Chugiak 44

Nome-Beltz 55, Unalakleet 44

Bartlett 74, Dimond 71

Petersburg 57, Craig 46

Homer 69, Houston 57

Grace Christian 77, Kenai Central 32

East 62, West 52

Redington 68, Nikiski 39

Service 52, South 36

Wasilla 64, Colony 61

Scammon Bay 96, St. Mary's 60

Cook Inlet Academy 52, Lumen Christi 49

Valdez 50, Delta 33

Shishmaref 56, Shaktoolik 51

Nunamiut 80, Alak 27

Hooper Bay 61, Chevak 50


Birchwood Christian 54, Nanwalek 37

Koliganek 68, Manokotak 67

Nome-Beltz 63, Unalakleet 52

Barrow 56, Sitka 46

Lumen Christi 39, Birchwood Christian 35

Grace Christian 76, Homer 53

Girls Basketball


Service 69, Bettye Davis 15


Martin L Olson 49, White Mountain 44

Nenana 71, Effie Kokrine Charter 8

Grace Christian 66, Seward 23

Houston 49, Redington 34

Service 68, Eagle River 38

Bartlett 60, West 55

Wasilla 55, Mountain City 51

Dimond 56, East 35

Monroe Catholic 76, Hutchison 7

West Valley 47, Lathrop 45

Mt. Edgecumbe 66, Sitka 55


Hoonah 40, Angoon 31

Newhalen 76, Chief Ivan Blunka 28

White Mountain 64, Gambell 17

Bristol Bay 62, King Cove 43


Klawock 51, Hoonah 26

Birchwood Christian 39, Cook Inlet Academy 25

Kali 60, Alak 51

Grace Christian 57, Nikiski 23

Monroe Catholic 49, Lathrop 27

Mountain City 61, Palmer 41

Homer 48, Redington 30

Bristol Bay 46, Newhalen 43

Chevak 72, Hooper Bay 69

Akiak 46, Kalskag 43

Glennallen 42, Delta 23


Nunamiut 76, Nuiqsut Trapper 28

Newhalen 48, Tanalian 28

Shishmaref 62, White Mountain 44

Susitna Valley 38, Nenana 34

Craig 38, Petersburg 24

Bartlett 50, Eagle River 38

Homer 64, Houston 47

Colony 50, Wasilla 48

Dimond 63, Chugiak 21

Service 49, South 30

Palmer 56, Soldotna 47

Nikiski 45, Redington 29

Newhalen 38, Manokotak 34

Monroe Catholic 57, Galena 17

West 73, East 46

Grace Christian 67, Kenai Central 39

Hooper Bay 52, Chevak 47

Thunder Mountain 52, North Pole 48

Nunamiut 46, Kali 24

Bristol Bay 35, Sand Point 28

Unalakleet 48, Nome-Beltz 45

Barrow 65, Sitka 38

Hoonah 53, Hydaburg 19


Newhalen 55, Sand Point 31

Grace Christian 56, Homer 10

Hooper Bay 58, Chevak 37

Houston 49, Nikiski 43

Unalakleet 51, Nome-Beltz 34

Kenai Central 53, Seward 37

Region IV Tournament



No. 7 Eagle River at No. 6 South at 6 p.m.

No. 8 East at No. 5 Chugiak at 6 p.m.


Winner of South/Eagle River v. No. 3 Service at 3 p.m.

Winner of Chugiak/East v. No. 4 West at 6 p.m.


Winner of Game 3 v. No. 2 Bartlett at 3 p.m.

Winner of Game 4 v. No. 1 Dimond at 6 p.m.


Third place

Loser of Game 5 v. Loser of Game 6 at 3 p.m.


Winner of Game 5 v. Winner of Game 6 at 6 p.m.



No.7 Eagle River at No. 6 South at 7:30 p.m.

No. 8 Chugiak at No. 5 Bartlett at 7:30 p.m.


Winner of South/Eagle River v. No. 3 West at 4:30 p.m.

Winner of Chugiak/Bartlett v. No. 4 Dimond at 7:30 p.m.


Winner of Game 3 v. No. 2 Service at 4:30 p.m.

Winner of Game 4 v. No. 1 East at 7:30 p.m.


Third place

Loser of Game 5 v. Loser of Game 6 at 4:30 p.m.


Winner of Game 5 v. Winner of Game 6 at 7:30 p.m.


Women's Basketball


UAA 51, Seattle Pacific 39


UAA 82, Montana State Billings 72 (OT)

Men's Basketball


Seattle Pacific 65, UAA 64


UAA 84, Montana State Billings 78



UAA 9, Stonehill 3


UAA 12, Stonehill 2



Anchorage Wolverines 3, Kenai River Brown Bears 2 (shootout)


Anchorage Wolverines 4, Kenai River Brown Bears 2m