Barrow boys, girls begin quest for state berths
The Barrow High School boys' and girls' basketball teams have been here before. With the regular season behind them, both teams will begin their quests to defend their Class 3A state championships this weekend when they compete in the 2017 Western Conference Basketball Championships.
The tournament is scheduled to get under way on Thursday at Dimond High School in Anchorage. The top two finishers in the 3-day tournament will advance to the state tournament, which begins on March 25 at the Alaska Airlines Center.
Barrow isn't the only rural Alaska school that will be looking to punch their ticket to state. The Kotzebue High School boys and girls, and the Bethel Regional High School boys' also harbor legitimate tournament hopes.
The Kotzebue Huskies will lead off the tournament's action on Thursday, beginning at 4:30 p.m. when they face off with Bethel in the first round.
Kotzebue, under the tutelage of first-year head coach Abe Lambert, comes into the tournament as the No. 3 seed.
The two-time defending state champion Barrow boys will face off against fourth-seeded Nome-Beltz at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The winners of the Bethel-Kotzebue and Barrow-Nome games will meet on Friday, starting at 8:30 p.m. for the conference championship. The loser of the title game will fall into the second-place game on Saturday at 6 p.m.
In the girls' bracket, Kotzebue will face off with rival Nome-Beltz in the first round, beginning at 3 p.m. on Thursday. Barrow, the tournament's top seed, will meet Bethel at 7 p.m. The girls' championship game will be played at 7 p.m. on Friday. The second-place contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The 2017 Western Conference Basketball Tournament brackets have been set.
The tournament, as well as the cheerleading competition, will be carried live on statewide TV via GCI.
3 p.m. - Nome Lady Nanooks vs Kotzebue
4:30 p.m. - Bethel Boys vs Kotzebue
7 p.m. - Barrow Lady Whalers vs Bethel
8 p.m. - Nome-Beltz Boys vs Barrow