West girls down Chugiak 44-40

CIC title hopes end at hands of host Eagles



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West ended Chugiak's hopes of reaching the Cook Inlet Conference girls basketball tournament title game, handing the Mustangs a 44-40 defeat in the tournament semifinals Friday night at West High.

After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, Chugiak rallied to take a 30-29 lead into the fourth quarter. But the host Eagles outscored Chugiak 15-10 down the stretch to earn one of the conference's two automatic state tournament bids.

West will face Dimond on Saturday in the CIC championship game, while Chugiak will play Service at 1 p.m. for third place. The Cougars lost 63-29 to Dimond in Friday's other semifinal.

Junior guard Alistie Aguilar led all scorers with 18 points for Chugiak before foulding out in the fourth quarter. Jessi McMullen had seven points and 13 rebounds for the Mustangs, who also got eight points from Jessica Tramp. Brandy Bookout, Erinn Scotland and Tracie Haken each scored two points for Chugiak and Mackenzie Matthis had one.

Chanel Bookert led West with 13 points, Anastasia LaVern-Tosi had 10 and Pauline Tufi scored eight.

Along with keeping Chugiak out of the title game, West may have also crippled the Mustangs' hopes of a state tournament appearance.

Due to a change in the way state berths are parceled out that was adopted before this season, the CIC now gets just two of six automatic bids to state — as opposed to three of eight as in previous years. The Alaska School Activites Association will select two "at-large" teams based on its Winning Percentage Index (WPI) rankings, which use a computer program to rank the state's class 4A teams based on results during the season. Entering this weekend, Chugiak was ranked 12th in the WPI.

ASAA will reveal its two at-large teams during a special announcement scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 4. The selection show can be viewed at www.asaa.org.

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