Chugiak girls soar to victory in conference opener
Mustangs only local team to notch win in CIC debut
Sammi McMullen keeps the ball away from two West Anchorage players Tuesday, Jan. 3. Chugiak won the conference season opener 64-39.
STAR PHOTO BY MIKE NESPER
Missing state last year coupled with the new rule that guarantees only two Cook Inlet Conference berths in the postseason this year, Chugiak’s girls didn’t need any extra motivation heading into their first CIC game Tuesday, Jan. 3. But they got it.
Coming into their matchup with West Anchorage, the Mustangs were dubbed “the mystery team.” That nickname only lasted eight minutes.
Chugiak (3-1 overall, 1-0 in the CIC) blanked the Eagles in the opening quarter en route to a 64-39 conference win. All four local varsity basketball squads were in action Tuesday, but Chugiak’s girls was the only team to win its conference opener.
Second-year head coach Ryan Hales said his team used the preseason nickname as fuel against West.
“I told them the mystery ends tonight,” he said.
Chugiak’s stingy first-quarter defense was part of its plan, senior Jessi McMullen said.
“We just really wanted to go out hard,” she said. “We wanted to make a statement.”
Erinn Scotland paced the Mustangs with 18 points. Alistie Aguilar had 16 and McMullen chipped in 10. Ten different players scored points for Chugiak.
A second-quarter letdown allowed West to put up 20 points and cut Chugiak’s lead to 4 at the half.
But the Mustangs rebounded in the final 16 minutes.
Aguilar put up 14 second-half points and Chugiak outscored West 40-19.
“A lot of people stepped up,” Hales said. “People excepted their roles, and they really worked hard tonight.”
Chugiak — which scored 23 fourth-quarter points — was the better conditioned team, McMullen said.
Her coach agreed.
“We run a lot in practice so we can push the entire game,” Hales said.
Chugiak’s second-place finish at the Cactus Jam tournament in Phoenix on Dec. 27-30 gave the team confidence heading into the conference opener, McMullen said.
The Mustangs began the tournament with a 59-7 win over Panoka (Alberta) High School on Dec. 27.
Madison McAleavey led Chugiak with 11 points followed by Scotland with nine. Jessica Tramp and McMullen each scored eight. Every player on the roster recorded points in the game.
Chugiak lost 57-33 to Pennsylvania’s Upper Darby High School on Dec. 28.
Two days later, the girls rebounded with a 45-22 victory over McCoy (Alberta) High School. Scotland scored a team-high 10 points. McAleavey followed with nine.
Scotland and McMullen were both named to the all-tournament team.
Service 33, Eagle River 22
Service High defeated Eagle River 33-22 in Cook Inlet Conference play Tuesday, Jan. 3. With the loss, the Wolves fell to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the CIC.
Junior Dana Panfil led Eagle River with 11 points. Freshman Lauren Frost chipped in nine.
West 76, Chugiak 57
Chugiak’s conference opener was a showdown between two sharp shooters.
Kendall Brown led West Anchorage to a 76-57 win Tuesday, Jan. 3 with a team-high 31 points. Skyler Fullmer paced Chugiak with 25 points, including six 3-pointers. Marquis Spearman followed with 14.
The Eagles turned an 11-point halftime lead to 20 by the end of the third quarter.
Nine different players scored for West while seven Mustangs recorded points.
The loss drops Chugiak to 2-5 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
Service 81, Eagle River 41
Service downed Eagle River 81-41 in a conference matchup Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Junior Shaquan Rhoades scored a team-high 20 points for Eagle River, including four 3-pointers. Senior Chris Parker followed with nine.
Adam Kile led the Cougars with 23 points followed by Marques Robinson with 21.
After leading by 11 at the half, Service exploded for 30 points in the third quarter while holding Eagle River to just five.
Eagle River’s previous loss also came against Service at the Cougar Tip-Off Tournament on Dec. 17. The Wolves fell 77-30 in the championship.
The loss drops Eagle River to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the conference.