Girls limp into state with high hopes
CHS earns No. 3 seed; Wolves to face No. 1 Dimond
Chugiak’s Jessica Tramp goes up for a shot over the East defense on Feb. 22.
STAR PHOTO BY MIKE NESPER
Chugiak’s girls will look to avenge their regular season finale loss to Bartlett today (Thursday, March 1) when the two square off in the Cook Inlet Conference tournament opener at 4 p.m. at West High.
The Mustangs’ lackluster performance led to a 37-34 loss to the Golden Bears on Feb. 24, Chugiak head coach Ryan Hales said.
“We just weren’t in the game,” he said. “We kind of went into the game a little overconfident.”
Despite the loss, the tiebreaker went in favor of Chugiak (8-6), and the Mustangs enter the CIC tourney as the No. 3 seed, edging fourth-seeded East (8-6).
If Chugiak is at its best, the Mustangs should advance past the Golden Bears, Hales said.
“If we’re playing our game, we should get by Bartlett pretty handily,” he said. “I think that we are definitely the better basketball team.”
But, Hales said, the CIC is full of tough opponents and nothing is guaranteed.
“Everybody in our region is capable of beating anyone on any night,” he said.
Dubbed “the mystery team” at the start of the season, the nickname still fits Chugiak, Hales said. The Mustangs can have a night of flawless execution and come out flat the next day, he said.
“We’re still that mystery team,” Hales said.
Playing consistent throughout the tournament will be essential for success, he said.
“We need to be consistent and play hard and put in effort the entire game,” Hales said.
Desire will determine who will secure the conference’s two guaranteed state tournament berths, Hales said.
“Whoever is going to want it the most is going to get to state,” he said.
Wolves draw tough assignment
Eagle River’s girls (0-14) played top-ranked Dimond (14-0) Wednesday, Feb. 29 in the opening round of the CIC tournament. The Star went to press before a score was available. Check www.alaskastar.com for updates.
The Lynx handed Eagle River an 85-19 loss in the regular season finale Feb. 24.
Nonconference Houston edged the Wolves 54-48 a day earlier. Lauren Frost pumped in 25 points to lead Eagle River. Sam Coy added 13.
Coy (13 points) and Frost (10) also led Eagle River in a 44-32 loss to Bartlett on Feb. 22.
Dimond has cruised past all conference opponents this year. A 21-point win over Chugiak on Jan. 10 was the closet any CIC team has come to beating the Lynx.
“Each of those players are all-around basketball players,” Wolves’ head coach Terra Bingham said. “There’s not just one or two stars. All of them can shoot threes, all of them can drive to the hoop.”
Dimond’s lack of weakness makes it nearly impossible to defend against, Bingham said.
“It’s really hard defensively, no matter what we do, because they’re an all-around team and every player is an all-around player,” she said. “We struggle with that.”
Though upsetting the CIC juggernaut would be highly unlikely, Bingham said, her team will compete all 32 minutes.
“Even though we’re playing this team, we really strive to give it our all,” she said. “We’ll play our hardest.”
Eagle River’s don’t-quit attitude hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Bingham said she’s received several compliments this season about how her team refuses to give up.
“We get props for that,” she said.
Eagle River’s determination to play hard no matter the score shows the team’s strong character, Bingham said.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org