Matt Tunseth

Chugiak girls basketball coach Ryan Hales has built one of the state’s top basketball programs since arriving on Birchwood Loop in 2010. Now he’s got the hardware to prove it.

On Wednesday, Hales was named the Alaska Class 4A girls Coach of the Year by the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches.

“It’s pretty cool to be recognized by your peers,” said Hales, whose Mustangs will play for a state title next week at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska state tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.

Think your workout is tough? Think again.

Firefighters from the Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department have been running up mountains and climbing stairs for months in anticipation of one of the most punishing charity fundraising races around.

With the prep basketball undercard now complete, Dimond girls coach Jim Young is ready for the main event.

“I tell my team there’s three seasons — the regular season and regions are the first two seasons,” said Dimond coach Jim Young after his team’s 72-51 runaway win over Chugiak Saturday in the finals of the Cook Inlet Conference tournament at West High. “Season three is state.”

Chugiak’s girls basketball team cleared its biggest hurdle to date Friday — and in the process, lept into the state tournament.

“We needed that one,” said Mustangs coach Ryan Hales moments after his squad’s scrappy 54-48 win over East in the Cook Inlet Conference tournament semifinals at West High.

Chugiak’s girls basketball team cleared its biggest hurdle to date Friday — and in the process, lept into the state tournament.

“We needed that one,” said Mustangs coach Ryan Hales moments after his squad’s scrappy 54-48 win over East in the Cook Inlet Conference tournament semifinals at West High.

“Gut wrenching.”

That pretty much sums it up.

Trailing for nearly all of Wednesday’s first-round Cook Inlet Conference clash with West, coach Joquis Sconiers’ Mustangs battled back from an eight point second-half deficit to take the lead with under a minute to go — only to watch their semifinal hopes die on a banked-in 3-pointer with 20 seconds to go.

“It’s the playoffs,” continued Sconiers, the third-year coach whose team’s season ended thanks to the Eagles’ improbable 51-50 victory in front of a stunned CHS crowd. “And they showed up.”

A promising season for the Eagle River girls ended at the hands of a merciless Chugiak team that never relented in a 72-16 first-round thrashing in the opener of a Cook Inlet Conference playoff doubleheader Wednesday night at Chugiak High.

Entering the tournament as a program-best No. 6 seed, the Wolves had more bite this year than in seasons past, and hoped to punctuate that against their rivals Wednesday.

“I don’t think we’re the doormat anymore,” said head coach Rashard Boston.

It may have been called the Tour of Anchorage, but the names of Chugiak-Eagle River residents were all over the final results.

Locals turned in several top performances Sunday in the annual Nordic ski races held on the citywide trail system, including a third-place finish by Chugiak’s Anna Rix in the women’s 25-kilometer classic race and a fifth from Chugiak’s Peter Brewer in the men’s 50-kilometer freestyle.

A former Eagle River resident and Marine reservist was shot and killed by police after a standoff near Denver on Friday.

According to the Denver Post, police in Englewood, Colorado were called Friday afternoon for a report that an armed man was barricaded inside a home holding several hostages. During the incident, police fatally shot Michael Kocher, 32, in the torso.

Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet is wide open — you just have to know where to look.

Ute Olsson knows. As a naturalist at the Eagle River Nature Center, Olsson might be the best person to describe the plants, trees, shrubs, ferns, berries and other flora growing in the Eagle River Valley.

“I just love plants and I love to find out how to use them,” Olsson said.

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