Lady Huskies finish 3-0 at Husky shootout
In the tournament's first game, Kotzebue played without injured point guard Ashley Ramoth?A balanced effort that saw seven Lady Huskies in the scoring column helped withstand a barrage of nine Buckland 3-pointers?Scoring at least four, but never more than six in each quarter, Alanna Conwell led the way with 22 points. Calia Sieh filled in at the point and added 14.
Kylah Melton and Kiarrah Melton paced Buckland with 11 points apiece.
"I really liked our execution," said Kotzebue head coach Jade Hill. "We shot a very low percentage from the field, but we were getting good looks and were just missing open shots?Ashley was a game-time decision, literally moments before the tip, but the team responded very well to the adversity?One of our strengths is our versatility and ability of several girls to play multiple positions."?On Friday, Kotzebue faced off against West Anchorage, who came into the game ranked fifth in the Class 4A Winning Percentage Index (WPI), a formula used by the Alaska School Activities Association to help fill and seed the state tournament? Spurred on by a howling "Dawg House" crowd, the Lady Huskies opened the game with an 18-9 run? West closed the gap to 23-21 at the half and neither team could extend a two-score lead until West went up with five with less than two minutes to play.
However Ramoth, returning to action, hit her fourth 3-pointer of the game to inch Kotzebue closer and Maite Nelson hit a free throw in the closing seconds to force overtime? Conwell and Nyeniea John traded the only baskets of the extra frame and the teams went to a second overtime?In the final four minutes of play, Naialani O'Haloran scored the Eagles' lone basket, while Conwell hit a field goal and two free throws to secure the win.
"The win over West was huge for us," said Hill? "It was an electric atmosphere and the West coaches said afterward it was the most raucous crowd they had ever played in - the first time they'd ever felt the floor tremble?I thought our girls stepped up nicely down the stretch and kept battling when they extended their lead on us to five late in the game?In overtime, we were running on fumes, but stayed sharp enough mentally to pull it out."?Conwell led the way with 23 points, including all six of the Huskies overtime buckets? Ramoth added 12, while John topped West scorers with 15.?"We got big contributions from so many girls," said Hill? "Maite played her best game of the season?Her defensive effort on their point guard (O'Haloran) was crucial for us and she was 6-8 from the free-throw line, including the clutch trip to the line at the end of regulation to tie it up for us?Alanna was terrific?She battled a very long and athletic front line and hit some tough shots?Ashley was tentative on her ankle to start the game, but after a couple of trips down the floor was able to trust it again? She hit big shots and handled their pressure very well?Payton McConnell and Tina Conwell battled inside for us as well and gave us great minutes to help neutralize their size?Caitlin Conwell was seemingly everywhere at once?She fought for loose balls, had some big steals and worked hard under the basket?We didn't get as many looks for Calia as I would have liked, but her defense was excellent and her continued leadership on the court is a steadying presence for us."
Sieh found her stride offensively in the finale against Nome?The junior hit for a game-high 25 points, including five from behind the arc?Kotzebue opened with a 19-2 first quarter and extended the lead to as many as 32 in the fourth quarter.?The Lady Huskies are scheduled to open play at the Valdez Elks Tournament Thursday at noon against Hutchison?The tournament field includes Anchorage Christian, Seward, Glennallen, Cordova, Valdez and the Valdez junior varsity.?