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

Feb. 28—Before Anchorage Christian School changed its name to Mountain City Christian Academy in 2023, its girls basketball team had established itself as dominant power in Alaska for over a decade. Then earlier this month, the Lions had their historic winning streak against in-state competition snapped at 133 after suffering a double-digit loss to Wasilla on the road.

The two 4A powerhouse programs faced off for the second time this season on Tuesday, and the Warriors spoiled the Lions' senior night and accomplished an even more impressive feat. With a 55-51 triumph, Wasilla became the first Alaska team to beat the two-time defending state champions twice in the same season since Grace Christian in the 2015-16 season, when they were still at the 3A level.

"I'm super proud of my kids," Wasilla head coach Jeannie Hebert said. "They stuck with it. We hit a couple big 3s when we needed them that turned the momentum a little bit there in the end. We got contributions from everybody. The bench was great and the fans were awesome."

Wasilla led for most of the first half, never by more than six points, after opening the game with a 6-0 run and leading 11-6 after the opening quarter. MCCA opened the second period with a 5-0 run and even briefly held the lead at 15-14 before the Warriors answered with a 7-0 run to go back up by six points.

The Lions were able to whittle the deficit down to a single point at halftime after a 3-pointer from Jasmine Schaeffer at the buzzer made it 23-22.

The second half was a heavyweight bout in which both teams went blow for blow and bucket for bucket. It featured eight lead changes and one tie before the Warriors were finally able to give themselves some breathing room in the final minutes.

"It was a big team effort," said junior Mylee Anderson, who led Wasilla 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."

A clutch 3-pointer from Savannah Kroon gave the Warriors a 50-49 lead that they wouldn't relinquish. Wasilla was able to extend its lead to six points with less than a minute left to play before Lions guard Keelie Kronberger made a layup to bring it within two scores. By the time MCCA was able to get up one last shot that went in from behind the arc, the clock had already expired.

"There are always ups and downs, and being able to maintain your composure and work through those emotions when things aren't going our way (is important)," Hebert said. "The kids bound together and kept believing what we were doing was going to work, and we came out on top."

Elated as the Warriors are to have earned such a significant win, they know that now isn't the time to rest on their laurels, with a big matchup against rival Colony coming up Friday at home to close the regular season.

Wasilla followed up on its last historic upset of MCCA by losing to the Knights 65-52, four days later.

"Last time, we got a little ahead of ourselves and let it get to our heads," Anderson said. "I think it's important for us to always respect our opponents."

A win against Colony on Friday would lock up the No. 1 seed for the Warriors heading into their regional tournament next week.

"We need to step our game up, and once we play that game on Friday, then we can start worrying about the postseason," Hebert said.