As the second-ranked boys team in the Southcentral Conference, the Seward Seahawks know they will need to continue the momentum they have carried all year when the tourney tips off at Anchorage Christian Schools today.
“Granted we’re the higher seed, we’re trying to hold serve and end up in the top two at the end, which will qualify us for a state tournament berth,” Seward coach Dan Krier said. “We know we have a tough first-round opponent, so we need to focus, take care of business, rebound well, and that’s our goal.”
Krier said the developing talent the team is harnessing is what could propel it to a second straight Southcentral region title.
“Jeff Buchanan has been steady all year, along with Jalen Terry, but our most pleasant surprise all year is Matthew Moore, who is averaging about 10 points a game,” he said. “If a team has a good scorer, Matthew is the guy we put on him.
“It’s really gratifying to have the kind of talent we have. We lost some seniors last year which depleted our squad, but these young kids have come in and stepped up.”
With a conference record 6-2 going in, Seward is up against the third-seeded Grace Christian squad today at 4 p.m. as the Seahawks look for a return trip to state.
The Seward girls, who made state last season, will enter the regional tournament as the top-seeded team, holding a 7-1 record.
They will play the winner of the Cordova and Nikiski game today at 5:30 p.m.
The Nikiski boys have had a trying season, but have ended on a positive note.
The Bulldogs are coming off an emotional win over Grace last Saturday, as they held off the Grizzlies charge to win 51-49. The hype was elevated due to the schools’ senior night.
Head coach Reid Kornstad said the team is looking forward to the region tournament.
“We have some momentum now, which is what we’ve been looking for all year, so I’m excited for our level of intensity, and now we need some consistency with it,” he said.
Lucas Herrin is one of the team’s top scorers, along with teammate Colton Anderson, and said Saturday’s win will hopefully propel them to the title.
“It means a lot to me, I’ve been playing basketball since I was six, so we’re going to state this year,” Herrin said. “I feel sorry for the teams that have to play us (at the conference tournament).”
The fourth-seeded boys team will play fifth-seeded Cordova today at 1 p.m.
The Nikiski girls have struggled through a season filled with ups and downs as well, said head coach Scott Anderson.
“As the fifth seed, we’re the underdog, so we don’t have any pressure, and that’s nice to have,” he said.
With top players Savannah Griffel, Koey Dixon and Kinsey Martin, the team is looking to build momentum at the right time.
“If they play hard like they have all year, we’re hoping to peak at the right time going into the regional tournament,” Anderson said.
The girls will play fourth-seeded Cordova today at 11:30 a.m.