The Rewind: UAA men's basketball team earns regional bid, Anchorage Wolverines clinch playoff berth and East boys, Service girls collect hoops titles

Mar. 11—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 got underway at the highest levels and saw impressive winning streaks extended and snapped. On the college scene, the University of Alaska Anchorage men's basketball team made it to the conference tournament title game and will get to compete at the NCAA Division II regionals while the women's team was questionably denied, and several skiers received prestigious honors. Outside the state, several Alaskans had impressive performances at the collegiate and pro levels.

Headlines and highlights

The 2023-24 high school basketball postseason was in full swing across the state this past week with regional tournaments at the 2A, 3A, and 4A levels taking place. In town, the Cook Inlet Conference teams squared off and produced some exciting finishes and dominant shows of force by some of the top contenders in the Last Frontier. The defending 4A state champion Bettye Davis East Anchorage boys team extended the longest active winning streak against Alaska competition with a pair of dominating double-digit victories in the Region IV championship tournament that included a 19-point blowout of Service in the finals to claim its fifth title in the past six seasons.

"This region is very tough and Service is really good and we still may see them again," East head coach Chuck Martin said. "We're very fortunate and happy to win this regions because you have three of the top four ranked teams in the state and arguably the top three teams in the state."

[Bettye Davis East Anchorage boys basketball team rolls Service to claim fifth region title in six years]

The girls' Region IV championship game was much more exhilarating as it featured a fourth quarter comeback by top-seeded Dimond only to have Service star freshman guard and 2024 CIC Player of the Year, Aryanna Watson, hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer to win 39-38. The victory marked a rare milestone for the young Cougars as it avenged their three consecutive losses to the Lynx in the regular season and secured the first regional title for the program since 2006 before any of their starters were even born.

"Our girls came out super determined to win this game," Service head coach Harvey Watson said. "Losing was not an option. We fought through it from the beginning and knew that even when we were up, they were going to make a comeback... We worked hard, stayed the course, drew up a play at the end and it came through."

[Aryana Watson's buzzer-beater lifts Service girls basketball past Dimond in Region IV championship]

Elsewhere in 4A action, the longest active winning streak on the girls side got snapped at 14 games by Wasilla as it proved the fourth time was the charm by avenging three regular-season losses to rival Colony in the Northern Lights Conference championship game on Saturday. The Warriors beat the Knights by 23 points in a 69-46 victory after losing by a combined margin of 19 points in their previous three matchups.

On the college hoops scene, both of the UAA programs made some noise at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship tournament this past week but only one will be advancing to the NCAA Division II tournament. The men's team upset defending champion Saint Martin's in the quarterfinals and rallied to beat No. 2 seed Northwest Nazarene in the semifinals. Despite coming up just short of pulling off another comeback in the finals to Central Washington, the Seawolves were able to punch their ticket to the Western Regional championship tournament later this week.

"Our guys showed their character right up to the end," UAA head coach Rusty Osborne said in a release from the school. "Even after the game, standing there patiently, waiting for them to celebrate, which they well deserved. That's the character of this bunch. They are great representatives of UAA, Anchorage and Alaska, and I'm going to miss coaching this group."

[Despite loss in GNAC title game, UAA men's basketball team earns NCAA DII tournament berth]

The UAA women's team flexed its muscles in the quarterfinals with a 22-point win over Seattle Pacific in the quarterfinals but unfortunately came up short in the semifinals to Western Washington, a team it had swept in the regular season. Even though the Seawolves had a strong finish to the season and ranked No. 8 in the region ahead of conference-tournament weekend, they were denied a bid to this week's regional championship tournament despite having a 19-8 record against NCAA Division II competition. The team they were passed over for was Cal State Los Angeles, which went 17-12 but was given the No. 8 seed.

"We came out a little flat, but what cost us was not getting the closeouts defensively on their shooters in the first half," UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy said in a statement after losing to the Vikings. "Once we recovered and got into our rhythm offensively, we just couldn't get the stops we needed defensively."

[UAA women's basketball opens GNAC tournament with blowout win over Seattle Pacific]

The UAA men's hockey squad closed out the regular season with a two-game home series with Arizona State University over the weekend, winning the first and dropping the second. On Friday night, senior forward Adam Tisdale found the back of the next with 32 seconds left in the third period to lift the Seawolves past the Sun Devils in a dramatic 4-3 victory.

"The team played for each other and got the result from working hard," UAA head coach Matt Shasby said in a statement. "Happy for Tisdale to come through with the winner."

The UAA ski team had a trio of skiers receive All-American honors this past week with sophomore Ainsley Proffit earning her first and senior Leon Nikic earning his third in the giant slalom races at the NCAA Skiing National Championships on Thursday. Proffit finished eighth in he women's division with a time of 1:56.68 while Nikic still managed to come in ninth despite having to overcome an error in his second run.

"Huge effort from Ainsley, who is skiing her best GS of the season, to clinch an elite eight spot and earning All-American status," UAA head coach Sparky Anderson said in a statement. "Leon had a great day too. Sitting in third after the first run, he risked all he could to win the overall. He got sucked low coming off the pitch and a small mistake cost him the podium. Super happy with his effort and earning our second All-American award of the day."

Senior Astrid Stav earned her fourth career All-American honor at the NCAA Skiing National Championships as well after finishing seventh in the women's 7.5-kilometer freestyle race with a time of 22:55. Two days later, she earned her fifth career All-American honor after leading the team with a 10th-place finish in the 20-kilometer classic race with a time of 1:04:04. As a team, UAA finished seventh in the overall team standings with 274 points from eight races across four days of competition.

"Our kids had a fantastic year," Anderson said in a statement. "So many great results. Winning at all levels all season. The culture this group has created is exciting. We'll keep building. Proud of our efforts here at championships. Five athletes earning six All-American accolades. Fourth-best alpine program in the nation, and the number two women's slalom team. All good things."

A perfect score from freshman Elli Spencer helped propel the University of Alaska Fairbanks air rifle team to a top-three finish at the NCAA Rifle Championships for the third year in a row this past Saturday. Even though they came up short of a successful title defense, Spencer's score of 600 in the preliminaries made her just the second shooter to ever reach that mark at the NCAA championships, joining Nanooks alum Rylan Kissell who accomplished the feat last year.

The Anchorage Wolverines continued to stay red-hot over the weekend with yet another series sweep for the fourth week in a row by notching a trio of wins over the Springfield Jr. Blues, clinching a playoff berth for the second time in three seasons in the process. The only game that was relatively close was Saturday night's matchup that needed an extra period to be decided but was still won by the home team thanks to Anchorage's own Bryce Monrean, who scored the game-winner in a 3-2 overtime victory. With the wins, Anchorage has won 11 straight games and remains in second place in the NAHL's Midwest Division standings behind the Wisconsin Windigo who only have one more win but the same number of losses and nowhere near the same amount of momentum.

Alaska stars shining Outside

Anchorage's Alissa Pili recorded a pair of double-digit scoring outings for the University of Utah women's basketball team this past week in the Pac-12 tournament. The former Dimond multisport star led the Utes with 20 points and 11 rebounds in a 71-60 win over Arizona State on Wednesday, marking her fifth double-double of the season. The following day, she led the team in scoring 16 points and corralled five rebounds in a 67-57 loss to UCLA.

Anchorage's Sayvia Sellers made her Pac-12 tournament debut with the University of Washington women's basketball team and even though the Huskies were one-and-done, the freshman guard still managed to put up decent numbers in a 58-50 loss to Arizona in the opening round Wednesday. In her 10th start of the season and eighth in a row, the former Anchorage Christian School star recorded nine points, two assists and two rebounds.

Anchorage's Angelline Nageak had a fantastic outing for the Adams State University women's basketball team in the quarterfinals of the RMAC championship tournament. The former Dimond standout led the Grizzlies to a 20-point victory over Black Hills State University last Tuesday with her second-highest scoring total of the season after dropping a team-leading 23 points that included going 5-of-6 from behind the arc. She nearly had a her first double-double of the season with a team-leading eight assists and led them with four steals as well.

Shungnak's Spencer Woods is one step closer to punching his ticket to the 2024 Summer Olympics in wrestling. The three-time national champion and member of the U.S. Army's World Class Athlete Program recently secured an Olympic berth in the 87kg weight class for Team USA after going 2-0 at the Pan Am Olympic Games Qualifier. He was named USA Wrestling's Athlete of the Week and was one of three Americans who earned Olympic quotas for Team USA with their standout performances in Mexico. While his spot on the U.S. Olympic team for the Summer Games isn't secured, he ensured he'll have a chance to earn it at next month's U.S. Olympic Trials.

Palmer's Sophie Wright earned second-team All-American honors at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships this past week after she ran the first leg on Western Washington University's women's distance medley relay team that finished ninth with a time of 11 minutes, 30.31 seconds.

Fast Forward



1A/2A state championship tournament

The 2023-24 high school basketball postseason will come to a close here in town this week as the top boys and girls teams from the smaller schools and communities around the state will converge on the Alaska Airlines Center. Action starts Wednesday with 1A opening-round games and the championships for both divisions will take place Saturday.


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

The hometown junior hockey team will be back at home for the fifth weekend in a row, where it will host another Midwest Division foe for a two-game series. This will mark the first time the two teams will have faced off since early January when they split a two-game road series for the Wolverines.

1A state Tournament

At Alaska Airlines Center



Opening Round

No. 1 Klawock v. No. 16 Brevig Mission at 11 a.m. (Court 1)

No. 8 Buckland v. No. 9 Scammon Bay at 11:15 a.m. (Court 1)

No. 4 Newhalen v. No. 13 St. Mary's at 8 a.m. (Court 2)

No. 5 Nunamiut v. No. 12 Birchwood Christian at 9:30 a.m. (Court 2)

No. 3 Fort Yukon v. 14 Napaskiak at 12:30 p.m. (Court 1)

No. 6 Lumen Christi v. No. 11 Napaaqtugmiut at 6:15 p.m. (Court 1)

No. 7 Bristol Bay v. No. 10 Skagway at 8 a.m. (Court 2)

No. 2 Shaktoolik v. No. 15 Akiak at 9:30 a.m. (Court 2)



Opening Round

No. 1 Kake v. No. 16 Emmonak at 3:15 p.m. (Court 1)

No. 8 Napaaqtugmiut v. No. 9 Shaktoolik at 6:15 p.m. (Court 1)

No. 4 Cook Inlet Academy v. No. 13 Aqqaluk at 3:15 p.m. (Court 2)

No. 5 Minto v. No. 12 Klawock at 4:45 (Court 2)

No. 3 King Cove v. 14 Aniak at 7:15 p.m. (Court 1)

No. 6 Nunamiut v. No. 11 Lumen Christi at 12:30 p.m. (Court 1)

No. 7 Shishmaref v. No. 10 Kipnuk at 4:45 p.m. (Court 2)

No. 2 Scammon Bay v. No. 15 Koliganek at 7:45 a.m. (Court 2)

2A state Tournament

At Alaska Airlines Center



Game 1: No. 1 Tikigaq v. No. 8 Haines at 4:45 p.m.

Game 2: No. 4 Glennallen v. No. 5 Unalakleet at 9:30 a.m.

Game 3: No. 3 Nenana v. No. 6 Hooper Bay at 8 a.m.

Game 4: No. 2 Metlakatla v. No. 7 Susitna Valley at 3:15 p.m.



Loser of Game 1 v. Loser of Game 2 at 8 a.m.

Loser of Game 3 v. Loser of Game 4 at 9:30 a.m.


Tikigaq/Haines v. Glennallen/Unalakleet at 4:45 p.m.

Nenana/Hooper Bay v. Metlakatla/Susitna Valley at 3:15 p.m.


Fourth/Sixth place

Winner of Consolation 1 v. Winner of Consolation 2 at 8 a.m.

Third/Fifth place

Loser of Game 5 v. Loser of Game 6 at 3 p.m. at 11 a.m.


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



Game 1: No. 1 Hooper Bay v. No. 8 Unalaska at 11 a.m.

Game 2: No. 4 Metlakatla v. No. 5 Unalakleet at 12:30 p.m.

Game 3: No. 3 Petersburg v. No. 6 Ninilchik at 6:15 p.m.

Game 4: No. 2 Cordova v. No. 7 Wrangell at 3:15 p.m.



Loser of Game 1 v. Loser of Game 2 at 11 a.m.

Loser of Game 3 v. Loser of Game 4 at 12:30 p.m.


Hooper Bay/Unalaska v. Metlakatla/Unalakleet at 6:15 p.m.

Petersburg/Ninilchik v. Cordova/Wrangell at 7:45 p.m.


Fourth/Sixth place

Winner of Consolation 1 v. Winner of Consolation 2 at 9:30 a.m.

Third/Fifth place

Loser of Game 5 v. Loser of Game 6 at 3 p.m. at 12:30 p.m.


Winner of Game 5 v. Winner of Game 6 at 8:30 p.m.

Last week's results

Boys Basketball


Chief Paul Memorial 61, Lewis Angapak 53


Eagle River 51, South Anchorage 44

Bartlett 54, Chugiak 52

Thunder Mountain 62

Juneau-Douglas 54


Thunder Mountain 66, Ketchikan 63

Petersburg 54, Wrangell 43


Galena 57, Ben Eielson 56

Tok 65, Nenana 50

Minto 67, Andrew K. Demoski 24

Kenai Central 59, Nikski 30

Metlakatla 49, Haines 43

Mt. Edgecumbe 69, Redington 29

Delta 50, Hutchison 38

Seward 69, Homer 39

Palmer 53, Kodiak 30

West 72, Eagle River 39

Cordova 52, Tok 48

Tikigaq 67, Unalaska 64

Wrangell 75, Craig 47

Barrow 74, Kotzebue 57

Sitka 56, Houston 42

Valdez 74, Galena 32

West Valley 51, North Pole 28

Unalakleet 77, Dillingham 30

Soldotna 43, Mountain City Christian Academy 27

Susitna Valley 68, Ninilchik 61

Dimond 62, Bartlett 44

Nome-Beltz 61, Bethel 55

Grace Christian 60, Kenai Central 40

Monroe Catholic 49, Lathrop 36

Juneau-Douglas 67, Ketchikan 48

Susitna Valley 73, Effie Kokrine Charter 21


Tok 78, Effie Kokrine Charter 43

Wrangell 60, Haines 49

Ninilchik 72, Nenana 31

Hutchison 52, Ben Eielson 42

Homer 60, Kenai Central 52

Service 55, West 53 (OT)

Thunder Mountain 63, Juneau-Douglas 58

Minto 97, Walter Northway 60

Valdez 50, Delta 39

Unalakleet 82, Tikigaq 68

Wasilla 64, Soldotna 43

Mt. Edgecumbe 61, Sitka 55

East 66, Dimond 30

Cordova 43, Susitna Valley 27

Monroe Catholic 42, West Valley 36

Grace Christian 50, Seward 40

Nome-Beltz 62, Barrow 57

Petersburg 49, Metlakatla 42


Ninilchik 68, Tok 66

Colony 74, Soldotna 60

Barrow 58, Bethel 50

Ninilchik 48, Susitna Valley 31

Seward 79, Homer 40

Houston 42, Sitka 40

Soldotna 69, Kodiak 61

West 62, Dimond 44

Minto 92, Tri-Valley 56

Wrangell 64, Metlakatla 60

Palmer 61, Wasilla 58

East 58, Service 41

Girls Basketball


Chugiak 45, East 26

South 39, Eagle River 29

Juneau-Douglas 50, Ketchikan 47


Petersburg 31, Craig 27

Thunder Mountain 54, Juneau-Douglas 35

Haines 43, Wrangell 42

Cordova 40, Ninilchik 32


Susitna Valley 43, Tok 40

Minto 47, Jimmy Huntington 41

Nikiski 41, Seward 39

Metlakatla 63, Petersburg 14

Delta 44, Ben Eielson 16

Glennallen 48, Effie Kokrine Charter 0

Kenai Central 53, Homer 45

Nenana 51, Cordova 16

Craig 37, Wrangell 31

Mt. Edgecumbe 69, Redington 17

Glennallen 33, Susitna Valley 25

North Pole 25, Lathrop 16

Grace Christian 51, Nikiski 7

Juneau-Douglas 49, Ketchikan 37

Barrow 74, Kotzebue 25

Fort Yukon 73, Minto 46

Monroe Catholic 55, Delta 9

Houston 55, Sitka 50


Homer 50, Seward 44

Minto 38, Andrew K. Demoski 30

Craig 38, Petersburg 21

Thunder Mountain 56, Juneau-Douglas 49

Galena 34, Ben Eielson 29

Homer 47, Nikiski 42

Fort Yukon 49, Tri-Valley 37

Mt. Edgecumbe 76, Houston 20

Grace Christian 57, Kenai Central 16

Dimond 56, West 48

Glennallen 29, Nenana 25

Metlakatla 71, Haines 48

Barrow 84, Bethel 47

Monroe Catholic 53, Valdez 30

Walter Northway 54, Minto 36


Mountain City Christian Academy 78, Palmer 38

Nenana 50, Susitna Valley 22

Bethel 52, Nome-Beltz 22

Homer 48, Kenai Central 43

Sitka 66, Houston 51

Valdez 50, Delta 44

Fort Yukon 60, Tri-Valley 51

Wasilla 69, Colony 46

Service 39Dimond 38

North Pole 27, West Valley 42


Women's Basketball


UAA 79, Seattle Pacific 57


Western Washington 75, UAA 60

Men's Basketball


UAA 81, Saint Martin's 76


UAA 64, Northwest Nazarene 63


Central Washington 78, UAA 69



UAA 4, Arizona State 3


Arizona State 5, UAA 2



1. UC Davis 197.025, 2. Illinois State 195.4750, 3. UAA 190.225


Sacramento State 195.100, UAA 191.500



Anchorage Wolverines 5, Springfield Jr. Blues 1


Anchorage Wolverines 3, Springfield Jr. Blues 2


Anchorage Wolverines 4, Springfield Jr. Blues 0