BCS boys basketball returns to state

Class 1A tournament starts Saturday


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Mike Rud leaps toward the hoop against Ninilchik in the Peninsula Conference tournament March 2.

MIKE NESPER

Last year, Birchwood Christian School’s boys basketball team won the program’s first conference title and earned its first state berth.

The Warriors are looking to make history again.

“We have a lot of potential for the state championship,” senior Mike Rud said.

BCS, the No. 2 Peninsula Conference seed, opens the Class 1A state tournament against Noatak — the top Northwest Arctic Conference team — on Saturday, March 16 at 3:30 p.m. at West High.

Remaining composed is crucial for success, senior David Rud said.

“We just have to keep our head cool,” he said.

Having five returners with state experience — Chris Manning, Caleb Duplessis, Tyler Kieffer and the Rud brothers — will make that easier, Mike Rud said.

“It’s still a big deal, but it’s not such a big deal,” he said of playing at state.

Having played on the floor of Sullivan Arena should keep the first-game jitters to a minimum, Mike Rud said. But the Warriors will need a first round win before setting foot in the Sully.

With 16 Class 1A teams vying for a state title, the winners bracket will be held at Sullivan Arena following first-round games hosted by South and West high schools.

Three consecutive wins earns a team a spot in the championship.

To get there, BCS must limit its turnovers, Mike Rud said.

“Really make other teams play our basketball,” he said. “A good defensive game.”

The Warriors also need strong shooting, Mike Rud said, something they didn’t have last year when they finished third at the 2A level.

“We just have to play calm,” he said. “Take smart shots.”

Time of possession is also key, Duplessis said.

“We’ve got to focus on controlling the ball,” he said. “Not throwing the ball away.”

Though Birchwood hasn’t faced most of the other 15 teams, the lack of knowledge about potential state opponents serves as a motivator, Duplessis said.

“It makes us work harder,” he said.

Offensively, Birchwood wants to control the paint, David Rud said.

“We just got to move the ball around,” he said. “Get the inside open.”

The Warriors’ height should give them an advantage, Mike Rud said. He and fellow senior Chris Manning and sophomore Dakota Jones all stand at 6-foot-3 or taller.

“We want to play an inside game,” Mike Rud said.

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