Ninilchik, CIA set to defend district titles

Posted: Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Looking for some good basketball this weekend a little closer to home than Anchorage?

Check out the District 3/2A Basketball Championships Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Homer High School.

Tournament action tips off this afternoon with the Nikolaevsk boys taking on Bristol Bay at 12:45 p.m., followed by the Unalaska and Cook Inlet Academy girls at 2:30 p.m.

"It's going to be fun," said Ninilchik girls coach Dan Leman. "Three of the top five teams in the state will be here on the girls side of the bracket. It's going to be real exciting."

The Wolverines have been at the top of the Alaska Media poll for much of the season, while the Seldovia girls were fourth in last week's voting.

On the boys side, Seldovia has drawn the top spot in the prep poll, while the Cook Inlet Academy boys were fourth in last week's voting.

The Ninilchik girls enter the tournament as the top seed and the defending champions, and are led by a trio of seniors in Theresa Chihuly, Corina Sullivan and Tasha Leman.

"We're ready, we're healthy," Dan Leman said. "The seniors have done a great job keeping everybody's spirits where they need to be."

The Cook Inlet Academy boys also will be defending their title, starting with their first game Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. against Community Christian School of Homer.

The Seldovia boys may have had the edge on the field early in the season, but both the Eagles and the Wolverines are stronger teams now than they were in December.

The Eagles, as well as the Wolverines, are both young teams, and their advancement through the tournament will be determined by the ability of their role players, those freshman and sophomores brought in to complement veterans like CIA senior Noah Shields, to play in a big game.

"With spring break, a lot of the stress is lifted off," said CIA boys coach Tim Keener. "It can be a real adventure. Regions bring a lot of pressure."

The district tournament will follow a double-elimination format, though with six girls teams and seven boys teams fighting it out over the four-day competition, a loss in any round will mean multiple games on Friday and Saturday for a team to advance to the final.

The top two teams from the district will advance to the state tournament.

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