Selawik caps memorable run as runners-up
ANCHORAGE - The Selawik High School head coach Kelsey Callaghan didn't try and sugarcoat things going into the Class 1A state championship game on Saturday. She knew the Scammon Bay Lady Eagles could score a lot ... and in bunches. She had heard all about the Lady Eagles' 57-game win streak, and Class 1A Player of the Year Kiah Charlie. She even knew about the Lady Eagles' defensive pressure.
All of which turned out to be true in the Lady Wolves' 71-35 victory in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the Alaska Airlines Center.
Despite suffering a loss, Callaghan left the court with a smile and even more respect for her team.
"You couldn't ask for more," said Callaghan, who guided the Lady Wolves to a 16-4 record and the team's first appearance in the state title game since 1991. "This whole season was a joy. We had our ups and we had our downs, and we had to overcome a lot of tough things, stuff that little high school girls shouldn't have to go through, but they did and for them to make it this far, that proves they can overcome anything."
"I'm so proud of these girls," she added. "We knew coming in we were the underdogs, but we played out hearts out. We played for the state championship."
Not only that, Selawik even led early in the game. Sophomore guard Shelby Sampson opened the game with a bang for the Lady Wolves, hitting a three-pointer from the wing that staked Selawik to a quick cushion.
Unfortunately for the Lady Wolves, Scammon Bay found its groove from there. The Lady Eagles knocked down five threes over the ensuing 6 minutes of play and raced to a 23-10 lead.
"They hit some shots early and that was hard to come back from," said Callaghan, noting her team was playing its fourth game in as many days. "They hit shots with hands in their faces and there's nothing you can do about that. It didn't help that we were tired. You could tell, it was day four and we were gassed."
The defending state champion, Scammon Bay continued to push its advantage in the second. Sparked by Charlie and Hayley Akerelrea, the Lady Eagles reeled off a 21-8 run in the ensuing 8 minutes and took a 44-18 lead into the half.
Sophomore Kali Howarth led Selawik's efforts in the second. She pushed in four of her six points in the frame. Marjorie Hingsbergen and Shaylynn Hingsbergen added baskets too.
Scammon Bay, which knocked down 13 three-point shots in the game, extended its lead to 69-28 with a 25-10 run in the third.
Callaghan said the Lady Wolves never quit. They outscored Scammon Bay in the fourth quarter.
"The ball just did fall our way, but that is the game of basketball," she said. "That doesn't mean we shouldn't be proud of what these girls accomplish. They (Scammon Bay) have a great team, but we have a great team too. We came out and gave it our all."
Justine Ramoth led all SHS scorers in the game with 13 points. Marjorie Hingsbergen added seven. Howarth keyed the Lady Wolves' defensive effort with nine rebounds and three steals.
Selawik proved its ability to win big games earlier in the tournament. The Lady Wolves battled their way through stiff tests from Gambell, Aniak and King Cove in order to gain a berth in the finals.
In their tournament-opening 62-36 win over Gambell on Wednesday, the Lady Wolves rode a 24-3 spree in the second quarter to an easy victory.
Howarth led the way for Selawik by recording a double-double, finishing with 13 points and 11 boards.
On Thursday, Shaylynn Hingsbergen pumped in a game-high 25 points and Marjorie Hingsbergen added 18 more en route to guiding the Lady Wolves to a 66-57 win over the Aniak Lady Halfbreeds.
Shaylynn Hingsbergen notched a double-double in the win. In addition to her offensive prowess, she also collected 14 rebounds and a team-best five steals.
Jia Ballot also starred for Selawik on the defensive end finishing with 13 rebounds and a pair of steals.
In the semifinal round, Selawik collected 28 points from Marjorie Hingsbergen and dispatched King Cove, 44-42.