By JOEY KLECKA
Sometimes, after a stressful situation, it’s best to take a breather to take your mind off the ordeal.
Luckily for the Nikolaevsk girls hoops team, there was an open rest day Sunday to relax and forget about Saturday’s one-point upset loss to Buckland that left the Warriors out of the running for the Class 1A girls state championship.
The Warriors bounced back Monday at West High School with a 69-32 victory over Kake to begin their journey through the tournament consolation bracket.
The win places them into a noon matchup today with Alak at West.
“I told the girls a true test of your character is going to be what it takes to get up and play a good game,” said Nikolaevsk coach Bea Klaich. “They showed up today, they hit their free throws, they had fun out there and good intensity.
“I felt like my team was back.”
Klaich said Sunday’s rest day did a lot of good to help the team refocus after the disappointing loss on Saturday, and a trip to the Anchorage mall provided the opportunity to do so.
“The girls had time to paint their nails and dye their hair,” Klaich said. “We just had a fun day yesterday, and I told them to forget about Saturday and think of this bracket as a new bracket of eight, and we want to win it.”
It was evident pretty early on that the Warriors had rediscovered their spark, as Serafima Kalugin and Nianiella Dorvall managed to find the net for a pair of layups each, helping Nikolaevsk to a 21-7 lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter, Sophia Kalugin got in on the action as well, putting up a trio of buckets, which mirrored Serafima’s three baskets. Serafima had 12 points by halftime.
“It was pretty light,” Klaich said about the mood on the bench.
Dorvall led the Warriors with 16 points total while Serafima Kalugin had 15.
Kake attempted a comeback in the third quarter by stringing together an 11-5 run that closed the deficit to 20 points with 5 minutes, 9 seconds, left in the frame. Tarissa Rohenfelter had all nine of her points during that span, taking advantage of Nikolaevsk turnovers and converting that to three layups and a trey.
However, the Warriors stopped the momentum and from 1:31 left in the third quarter to two minutes left in the fourth outscored Kake 20-1. Nikolaevsk outscored Kake 18-4 overall in the fourth quarter.
Warriors 69, Thunderbirds 32
Nikolaevsk 21 18 12 18 —69
Kake 7 6 15 4 —32
NIKOLAEVSK (69) — Ki. Klaich 2 1-2 7, Kr. Klaich 1 0-0 2, Fefelov 3 0-0 6, So. Kalugin 4 1-4 9, Stafford 3 0-0 6, Se. Kalugin 6 3-4 15, Dorvall 8 0-1 16, Hickman 2 4-8 8. Totals 29 9-19 69.
KAKE (32) — Davis 2 0-0 4, C. Kodake 1 0-0 3, Rohenfelter 4 0-0 9, L. Kodake 2 3-6 8, Merry 2 0-0 4, Bourden 0 0-0 0, B. Bourden 2 0-0 4. Totals 13 3-6 32.
3-point field goals — Nikolaevsk 2 (Ki. Klaich 2); Kake 3 (L. Kodake 1, Rohenfelter 1, C. Kodake 1).
Team fouls — Nikolaevsk 8; Kake 16.