Yakutat ends Birchwood’s season
Warriors to lose four senior starters
BCS sophomore Tyler Keiffer drives to the hoop against Yakutat in the consolation final of the boys Class 1A state basketball tournament March 20 at Sullivan Arena.
For the second straight season, Birchwood Christian School’s season ended against Yakutat at Sullivan Arena.
This year, however, the Eagles got the better of the Warriors and won the boys Class 1A state basketball consolation final 51-42 on March 20. Last season, BCS downed Yakutat in the 2A third-place game.
After losing to Noatak in the first round — which dropped BCS into the consolation bracket — the Warriors won back-to-back games at West High to earn a consolation final berth and make their first appearance in more than a year at the Sully.
“Our main goal was to get back to the Sullivan,” senior Chris Manning said.
Nearly half of the Eagles’ points came from beyond the arc, which was the difference in the game, BCS senior Mike Rud said.
“The 3-pointers killed us,” he said.
Seven of Yakutat’s eight treys came in the first half. Kalani Russell nailed five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 17 points for the Eagles.
“He was on today,” David Rud said.
For the fourth straight game, Mike Rud led the Warriors in scoring with 14 points. He averaged nearly 21 points per game in the state tournament. Caleb Duplessis added 12 points and Tyler Keiffer chipped in 10 for BCS.
Birchwood is losing four seniors — Mike Rud, David Rud, Manning and Duplessis — all starters. Offseason work will be crucial if the Warriors want to contend with the top Peninsula Conference teams next season, head coach Robert Vickers said.
Vickers said the inaugural season in the Peninsula Conference was a success for the Warriors, who finished second in the conference tournament and earned their second consecutive state berth. The benefits of playing in a new, tougher conference were evident in the first year, he said.
“It strengthened us,” Vickers said.
Despite ending with a loss, Vickers said he was proud of Birchwood’s 2013 season.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” he said.