Whalers sweep pair from Nome-Beltz
Not even Mother Nature, a long wait or an energized Nome-Beltz squad could slow the Barrow Lady Whalers this past weekend. The Lady Whalers moved a step closer to nailing down the top seed in the upcoming Western Conference tournament with a sweep of two games with the Lady Nanooks.
After poor weather conditions had prevented Barrow from arriving in Nome until 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon, the BHS girls got off to a slow start offensively. The Lady Whalers managed just nine points in the first quarter.
The good news for Barrow was the BHS defense made Nome's defense even slower. The Lady Whalers limited the Lady Nanooks to three first-quarter points and took a slim 9-3 advantage into the second.
"We started a little slow offensively," said Barrow head coach Chad Bunselmeier. "Our defense allowed us to hold onto a slim lead until we woke up offensively."
Barrow came alive in the second. The BHS girls pumped in 21 points in the frame and raced into the half holding a 30-16 lead.
Nome fought its way back in the second half. The Lady Nanooks battled to within nine in the fourth before Barrow rallied back to finish off a 64-53 victory.
"This was a good test for the team to learn to deal with adversity," said Bunselmeier. "It was a loud gym and got even louder when Nome would hit back to back 3s."
Milya Wright came off the bench and finished the game as Barrow's top scorer with 13 points.
"She played a significant amount of minutes," he said. "She was able to anticipate passes in our press and get a number of steals that led to easy layups and also knocked down a three-pointer."
Alaina Wolgemuth, Rose Mongoyak and Crystalynn Tua'i also played well for BHS. Wolgemuth pushed in 10 points in the contest, while Mongoyak and Tua'i had nine apiece. Kuutuuq Danner added eight.
Barrow's offense played much better on Saturday in the final game of the two-game series. The Lady Whalers pounded out 45 points in the first two quarters and took a huge 17-point lead into the half.
"We shot the ball much better in the first half," said Bunselmeier. "Everyone played their role and despite a very physical game where we got in foul trouble early, the girls were able to keep their composure and continue to play at a high level.
"We made adjustments to our defense when and where we needed to," he added.
Barrow sealed the 79-55 decision with a staggering 24-point outburst in the fourth quarter.
Overall, five Barrow players scored into double figures. Mongoyak led all BHS scorers with 18 points, while Danner, Wright and Tua'i added 11 apiece. Wolgemuth had 10.
Bunselmeier praised the offensive play of the team's three posts - Mongoyak, Felilia Tua'i and Crystalynn Tua'i
"(They) really stepped up their play in the past two weeks," he said. "They are rebounding more aggressively on both ends of the floor and are really establishing themselves in the post and making it easier for our guards to get them the ball."
Barrow will close out its regular season this weekend when they travel to Kotzebue.
The Western Conference tournament will be held at Dimond High School on Mar. 9-11.