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Bulldogs take third at state

Nikiski defeats Seward again

Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2005


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  Players on the Nikiski bench react to Nikiski's loss to Monroe Catholic in a Class 3A girls semifinal game in the state basketball championships in Anchorage, Alaska, Friday, April 1, 2005. AP Photo/Al Grillo

Nikiski's Sarah Herrin (30) shoots over Seward's Teal Hetrick (11) during the second half of the Class 3A girls third-place game during the state basketball championships in Anchorage, Alaska, Saturday, April 2, 2005.

AP Photo/Al Grillo

The Nikiski High School girls basketball vanquished a familiar foe Saturday, defeating Seward 37-30 to claim third place at the Alaska School Activities Association State 3A Championships at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

The third-place game came on the heels of an emotionally draining 41-37 loss to Monroe Catholic Friday night.

"I'm very proud of this team," said Nikiski coach Ward Romans. "To come back from a heartbreaking loss to the defending state champions — these girls showed a lot of heart and a lot of pride."

"It was tough" coming back after the loss, said Nikiski's Whitney Hitchcock, "but we knew we had to come back and take care of business. We weren't going to sulk.

"First would've felt a lot better, but third will have to do."


Monroe Catholic's Lizzy Compeau, left, and Nikiski's Hannah Thompson fight for the ball during the class 3A girls semifinal in the State Basketball Championships in Anchorage, Alaska, Friday, April 1, 2005.

AP Photo/Al Grillo

Saturday's game marked the fourth meeting of the season between the two peninsula rivals — all won by the Bulldogs.

"Like coach said, it's kind of like playing your sister. They know how we are, we know how they are," said Nikiski's Krystal Gladden.

Nikiski's Sarah Herrin got the Bulldogs off the a quick start Saturday, completing a three-point play to open the scoring, then adding two more baskets to give her team a 7-2 lead.

The Bulldogs led 17-11 at the half, but Seward pulled to within a point, 19-18, late in the third quarter on a layup by Kursten Stallings.

Nikiski's Sasha Auldridge and Seward's Lara Loomis traded 3-pointers before the Bulldogs put together an eight-point run bridging the third and fourth quarters — Thompson scored the first five points of the final frame with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws — to take a nine-point lead.

Seward chipped away to get back to within five points with less than three minutes to play, but never got any closer.

"It was a good game, and they scored a couple more points than we did," said Seward coach Roger Steinbrecher. "We were there at the end, but they're a good ballteam."


Nikiski's Sasha Auldridge (22) drives around Seward's Teal Hetrick during the Class 3A girls third-place game at the state basketball championships in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, April 2, 2005.

AP Photo/Al Grillo

Steinbrecher said his team played two good games at the tournament — the opener, a win over Mt. Edgecumbe, and Saturday's game with Nikiski — but said the middle game, a 46-33 loss to Dillingham, wasn't as good.

"In two out of three games, we were awesome. We can't be sad with that," said Seward's Teal Hetrick.

"We're happy with it. I wish we could've won, but it was the closest game we've had with them all year," Loomis said. "(Saturday) was great. (Friday) was rough, but to finish with (Saturday's) game is good."

Hetrick finished with 17 points to lead the Seahawks. Herrin scored 16 points to lead the Bulldogs, most of those coming from her hard work in the paint, and Thompson finished with 11 points.

Against Monroe Catholic, Thompson led the Bulldogs with 11 points while Whitney Hitchcock scored eight and Herrin netted seven.

The Bulldogs were right with the Rams — the top-ranked team in the Alaska Sportswriters' poll — throughout the game but fell just short at the end.

Still, their effort drew praise, even from the rival Seahawks.

"Other than maybe (Saturday night's) championship game, that was the game of the tournament," Loomis said. "Nikiski came out to play that game."

"We really think Monroe had to earn it," Gladden said. "We didn't give anything to them. If we were going to lose, it was going to be to a quality team."

Following Saturday's game, Thompson said she felt drained.

"It's a long season, and putting three games together at state drains you even more," said Thompson.

Still, the Bulldogs were proud of their accomplishments this season — a 23-4 record, a Southcentral Conference title and a third-place finish at state.


Players on the Nikiski bench react to Nikiski's loss to Monroe Catholic in a Class 3A girls semifinal game in the state basketball championships in Anchorage, Alaska, Friday, April 1, 2005.

AP Photo/Al Grillo

"We would've liked to have done better, but we did go farther than last year, and we went farther than anyone else from our region," Gladden said.

"We set the bar real high at our school," Romans said.

And the Bulldogs already are thinking about reaching just as high — if not higher — next year.

"Absolutely," Herrin said. "There is no offseason."

SEWARD (30) — Sawyer 0 0-0 0, Hetrick 6 2-2 17, Prochazka 0 0-0 0, Hoogland 0 0-0 0, Beals 0 0-0 0, Sela 2 0-0 4, Stallings 2 0-0 4, Foldager 0 0-0 0, Loomis 1 0-0 3, Buchanan 0 0-0 0, Crane 0 0-0 0, Adelmann 1 0-0 2. Totals — 12 2-2 30.

NIKISKI (37) — Lee 0 0-0 0, Carlson 0 0-0 0, Gladden 1 1-2 3, Griffel 0 0-0 0, Auldridge 2 1-3 6, Thompson 2 6-9 11, Herrin 7 2-3 16, Hitchcock 0 1-2 1. Totals — 12 11-19 37.

3-point goals — Seward 4 (Hetrick 3, Loomis), Nikiski 2 (Auldridge, Thompson). Total fouls — Seward 15, Nikiski 7. Fouled out — Loomis.


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