The Seward girls basketball team didn’t get the win it wanted Saturday, but at least the Seahawks were playing Saturday.
The Seahawks ended their season with a 38-30 loss to Valdez at the UAA Wells Fargo Sports Complex. The game served as the rubber match between two schools that had split their season series.
“We played with a lot of heart,” said Valdez coach Doug Fleming. “They worked hard, played defense, and they were patient and waited for a shot, didn’t rush things.”
Seward officially will take sixth place in the state tournament, which is a step up from the previous two years of going two-and-out and finishing seventh.
“It was a good year for us,” said Seward coach Mark Clemens. “Don’t ever like to lose a game, we lost to ACS (Thursday) but it was a good game for us, came back, won the second game, and we haven’t won a state game in a while.”
Ashley VonBorstel and Ashley Whiteshield ended their high school playing careers Saturday. VonBorstel hit a trio of 3s en route to 11 points and four rebounds, while Whiteshield had two points and three boards.
“They had a good senior year,” Clemens added. “They were consistent for most of the time. They’ll be missed, but I think we have some younger girls that can step up.
“Practice starts Monday.”
Laura Kromrey had 10 points and kept Valdez on its toes with six rebounds, but the Buccaneers’ Veronica Hursh and Marian Wamsley equaled Kromrey with six boards themselves. Rachel MacDonald led Valdez with 11 points.
“Lack of rebounding in the first half got us,” Clemens said. “Lack of our defense got us. We didn’t play with enough effort, we didn’t come out ready to roll.”
Valdez got the jump it needed from the start, knocking in the four first buckets off of steady offensive rotations to establish a 9-0 lead with 3 minutes, 48 seconds, left in the first quarter. Kiana Clemens hit Seward’s only field goal with just over two minutes left in the quarter on a 3-point attempt.
The Seahawks shot poorly in the first half — 3 for 14 for 21 percent — while also losing the rebound battle with a 17-8 margin. That left Seward trailing 17-8 at halftime.
The Seahawks increased the pressure in the second half, hitting three early shots to close the deficit to 19-14 in the first two minutes of the third quarter.
“We went back to our game plan, which we should’ve had at the start of the game,” Clemens said. “We started rebounding, started moving the ball, started getting some looks and shooting the ball. That was all part of getting our legs moving and our brains turned on.”
Seward came as close as four points to Valdez, but once 5-foot-11 post player Marian Wamsley started heating up for the Bucs, things went south for the Seahawks. From the 1:30 mark of the third quarter to the 2:43 mark of the fourth, Valdez outscored Seward 13-2 and iced the game.
Fleming said his team had its eyes set on getting to Saturday’s championship game, but a first-round loss to Barrow eliminated that possibility immediately.
“Close,” Fleming said. “We wanted to get here, but we wanted to go a little farther, but we’ll take fourth. I’ve got a young team, so we’ll be back next year.”
Buccaneers 30, Seahawks 38
Valdez 9 8 11 10 —38
Seward 3 5 13 9 —30
VALDEZ (38) — Woods 0 0-0 0, Langseth 0 0-0 0, S. Hursh 0 0-0 0, MacDonald 3 2-2 11, Merioles 2 0-0 4, V. Hursh 2 0-0 4, Rohrer 0 0-0 0, Attla 1 0-0 2, Fleming 4 1-2 9, Franciosi 0 0-1 0, Sharrai 0 0-0 0, Wamsley 2 4-4 8. Totals 14 7-9 38.
SEWARD (30) — VonBorstel 4 0-0 11, Kromrey 4 2-3 10, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Whiteshield 1 0-1 2, Clemens 3 0-0 7. Totals 12 2-4 30.
3-point field goals — Valdez 3 (MacDonald 3); Seward 4 (VonBorstel 3, Clemens 1).
Team fouls — Valdez 3; Seward 6.