Nikiski girls reclaim state title

Bulldogs streak past Monroe for second championship in three years

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002

Who can resist asking the question, "Who let the dogs out?" No matter how much one might detest the song of the same name, it was a question difficult to ignore Saturday when the Nikiski girls defeated Monroe Catholic 60-33 at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage to reclaim the Class 3A state basketball championship.

It seemed Bulldogs were everywhere.

Whether it was in the stands as shirtless Nikiski High boys stood side-by-side with letters painted across their chests to spell out "Go Bulldogs!" and generated more chatter than a cheering squad. Or on the sidelines as Nikiski head coach Ward Romans, during a rare moment of quiet in Sullivan Arena, called out fiercely to his senior point guard, "Sally!" -- followed by a more subdued, "Relax," once he got her attention.

Everywhere the Bulldogs were, they were ferocious. And their points on the scoreboard reflected this tenacity.

"I only have one speed when I coach," said Romans, who claimed his fourth state title. "And that's intense."

The Bulldogs began the game with that intensity. But Nikiski was more akin to a greyhound, launching from out of the gate on a 12-0 scoring tear that took the wind out of the Rams, led by eight of Karen Rabung's 21 points.

"I think at the beginning of the game we caught them off guard,"Romans said.

Monroe coach Michael Lantagne confirmed Romans' sentiment, saying his young team had never seen such a flurry of scoring.

"It was a brand-new experience for us," Lantagne said.

The Rams got on the board at the end of the quarter with a bucket from Carolyn Berg and a foul shot from team-leading scorer Leah Stepovich. The period closed on a Sally Glaze 3-pointer -- her first of four.

The second period was more of the same, with Glaze adding two more treys and a bucket to end the half at 25-10.

Nikiski's defense confounded the Rams, stifling Monroe shot selections and forcing the Rams outside of the paint. Monroe was left to attempt 3-pointers, hitting only 2-of-11.

The Bulldogs' offensive scheme was equally devilish on the Rams, sending cutters zig-zagging through the lanes for open layups or generating fouls. Nikiski went to the line and hit 16-of-18 in the second half.

But the game belonged to Glaze, who scored her jersey number, 32 points, to lead all scorers.

"She's a special point guard," Romans said of Glaze. "They say a point guard is supposed to be a reflection of a coach. That's what she is."

Lantagne offered praise for Glaze's play as well, saying he anticipates good things for her when she finishes high school.

"It was really great seeing her step up like that in her last game," he said. "I really wish her well."

Glaze said she focused on keeping her poise.

"I was just feeling it tonight," she said. "It's my last game."

Glaze deferred compliments to her teammates, however, saying they put in a lot of work.

"I'm very proud to have them on my team," she said. "They're always on the floor hustling."

And some even hustled themselves off the floor. Nikiski's Emilee Gillaspie scored an assist while chasing a ball deflected off of her out of bounds at the close of the first half. She tipped the ball back into play and tumbled into a camera crew, knocking over both the cameraman and the TV-VCR his camera was connected to.

No one was hurt, and Gillaspie's heroics lead to Glaze basket at the last second of the second period.

Romans led the Bulldogs to a title in 2000 and said he was glad to return to the top after losing in the first round of the state last year.

He said the score was not his major concern, and said it was even a surprise to him. He said he was pleased to see his five seniors leave on a good note after playing a perfect game.

"The kids did a great job of ignoring the scoreboard," he said. "I honestly didn't know the score until halftime.

"As a coach, you dream a whole season of playing in a state championship and playing your best game. We did."

BULLDOGS 60, RAMS 33

Nikiski 15 10 18 17 --60

Monroe 3 7 7 16 --33

NIKISKI (60) -- Floyd 1 0-0 2, Gillaspie 0 0-0 0, Weaver 2 1-4 5, Lofstedt 0 0-0 0, Ellis 0 0-0 0, Rabung 9 3-5 21, Carr 0 0-0 0, Glaze 10 8-9 32, Gladden 0 0-0 0, Coveyou 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 22 12-18 60.

MONROE (33) -- Becker 2 0-0 4, Compeau 0 0-0 0, Sniegowski 0 0-0 0, L. Burglin 3 1-2 8, Stepovich 4 3-4 12, Huddy 0 0-0 0, Koch 0 0-0 0, B. Burglin 1 0-0 2, Davis 0 0-0 0, Sokaitis 0 0-0 0, Berg 3 1-2 7, Rima 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 13 5-8 33.

3-point goals -- Nikiski 4 (Glaze 4); Monroe 2 (L. Burglin 1, Stepovich 1). Total fouls -- Nikiski 9, Monroe 13. Fouled out -- none.

Valdez 48, Seward 32

The Buccaneers outscored the Seahawks 20-9 in the third quarter to take control of Saturday's fourth-place game.

Both teams struggled from the floor, with Seward hitting 26 percent and Valdez hitting 32.4 percent.

However, the Buccaneers went 22-of-30 from the foul line, while the Seahawks were just 8-of-18. Seward also had 18 turnovers to the 10 of Valdez.

Shannon Arts of Valdez paced all scorers with 13 points, while Keyshea Gibbs had 10 points for the Buccaneers.

Ruth Banse had nine points to lead Seward.

BUCCANEERS 48, SEAHAWKS 32

Valdez 6 11 20 11 --48

Seward 6 5 9 12 --32

VALDEZ (48) -- Nielsen 1 2-2 4, Fischer 0 0-0 0, Phillips 0 1-3 1, Connor 1 2-2 4, Arts 3 7-7 13, Jones 0 2-3 2, Garrison 1 0-0 2, Gibbs 4 2-3 10, Blackburn 1 0-0 2, Wilcox 0 1-2 1, Bixby 0 0-0 0, Goudreau 2 5-8 9. Totals -- 13 22-30 48.

SEWARD (32) -- Gillespie 0 0-0 0, Bardarson 2 0-0 4, Steinbrecher 0 0-0 0, Ganser 2 0-0 4, Regis 0 0-0 0, Banse 3 3-10 9, Loomis 0 3-4 3, Deruwe 1 0-0 2, Linville 1 1-2 3, Seigel 0 0-0 0, Dieckgraeff 3 1-2 7. Totals -- 12 8-18 32.

3-point goals -- Valdez 0; Seward 0. Total fouls -- Valdez 18, Seward 21. Fouled out -- none.

Petersburg 39, Kotzebue 33

The Vikings outrebounded the Huskies 54-28 en route to claiming the fourth-place game Saturday.

Petersburg trailed 27-25 heading into the final period, but came back for the victory.

Kayuleigh Short had 16 points to lead the Vikings, while Evelyn Conwell had 15 points to lead the Huskies.



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