The Cook Inlet Academy girls basketball team found a good reason to get up at 6 a.m. during the middle of spring break.
The Eagles defeated Northway 55-35 on Thursday at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage to earn fourth place at the Class 2A state tournament for the second-straight year. The two fourth-place finishes come after an 18-year absence from state.
CIA coach Ted Forsi said his team got up at 6 a.m. for the 8 a.m. game. The team was on the floor at the Sullivan by 7:15.
"We started out pretty strong and kind of stayed on them," Forsi said after his team finished with a 17-11 record. "We got a jump on them a little bit and they never really got into the game.
"We played the bench quite a bit. We just had fun. It was real good for the girls to get another fourth-place finish at state."
The Eagles led 8-4 after one quarter, 22-13 at halftime and 36-20 after three quarters.
Cook Inlet's lone senior, Brooke Forsi, finished her career on a high note. Forsi had 23 points, 14 rebounds and four assists all game highs. She also had three steals.
"She was just active around the basket at both ends," Forsi said of his daughter. "With her quickness, the girls from Northway just weren't used to her quickness. She got a lot of rebounds and put-backs.
"I'm really proud of her. It was a great way to end her career."
Even with Forsi leaving, CIA showed it will have plenty of firepower next season. Junior Holly Kopp and sophomore Amie Smithwick once again spelled trouble for ballhandlers. Kopp had four steals while Smithwick had three steals and nine points.
CIA had just 12 turnovers in the game, but forced 20 Northway turnovers. Add in a 43-33 advantage on the boards, and it didn't matter that Northway shot 39 percent from the floor while CIA was at 38 percent.
"Amie Smithwick, Holly Kopp and Chelsea Hardcastle all came to state last year," Forsi said. "We have a good basis for next year."
Forsi also said it was nice to get his five freshmen in the mix. Freshman Tiana McGahan had six points on 3-of-4 shooting, while fellow freshman Tiffany Smith chipped in five points.
"It was a great team effort," Forsi said. "Everybody came in and played good ball and really hustled. I'm really happy for the team."
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