Congratulations to the Cook Inlet Academy girls high school basketball team, which on Wednesday defeated Nikolaevsk to claim the Class 1A state title.
Indeed, it takes plenty of hard work and determination just to make it to a state tournament — and it takes true grit to battle through triple overtime in a title game.
“It’s that heart and refusal to quit that made this a special team this year,” CIA coach Rustin Hitchcock told the Clarion after the game.
We’d also like to give kudos to the Nikolaevsk girls, who themselves showed plenty of heart in earning their first trip to the state tournament. For that matter, we’d like to say congratulations to every student-athlete who has toiled through a sports season during the school year.
The benefits of co-curricular activities are many — participants learn about work ethic, team building and leadership in addition to the physical and social benefits.
We’d also point out that as hard as the Eagles and Lady Warriors were working through their triple-overtime thriller, that was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building a winning team. For every game played in front of a crowd, there are hours and hours spent practicing in the gym, individually and as a team, with no one watching, honing skills, learning strategy, building fitness. It’s one of the most important life lessons, that it’s what you do when nobody is watching that counts.
So, congratulations to the Eagles. A state title is something to be proud of, not just for the win it represents, but for the commitment that makes that win possible.