BCS boys third at state
After defeating every conference foe in the regular season and winning three straight en route to a Central Interior Conference title, Birchwood Christian School’s boys finished their season as the third best Class 2A basketball team in the state.
The Warriors defeated Yakutat 43-33 in the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Class 2A State Basketball Tournament third-place game March 14 at Sullivan Arena.
“We really wanted to end the season with a win,” said Isaac Foreman, who was named Player of the Game for BCS.
The Warriors built a 14-point lead by halftime, but Yakutat cut it to six after three quarters. BCS outscored the Eagles 14-7 in the final eights minutes to seal the victory.
Mike Rud paced Birchwood with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Dylan Keiffer (11 points) and Chris Manning (10 points) also reached double digits for BCS.
Caleb Duplessis added seven points and Foreman chipped in two for the Warriors.
Keiffer hauled in nine rebounds and a team-high five steals.
Holding Yakutat to just 25 percent shooting from the field keyed the victory, head coach Robert Vickers said.
“Our defense played phenomenal,” he said. “What a good way to finish.”
A 58-38 loss in the semifinals to Noorvik, who went on to win the state title 50-48 over Scammon Bay, a day prior to the third-place game didn’t affect the Warriors, Vickers said.
“I had them block it out of their mind,” he said. “They didn’t let that game get in their heads.”
BCS notched its first state win in school history with a thrilling 34-33 victory over Bristol Bay in the tournament’s opening game March 12.
Vickers has preached hard work all season, and that’s precisely what propelled the Warriors to their first trip to state in school history, he said.
“They just went out and played hard,” he said.
The entire team worked together to prevail over Yakutat, Vickers said.
“All five guys on the court were leading the charge,” he said. “They didn’t put it on one person’s shoulders.”
“All together, it was just teamwork,” he said.
The team is a tight-knit group off the court, which is an advantage come tipoff, said Keiffer, who was named Player of the Game in the semifinals.
“We work real well together,” he said. “We just keep it simple. Stick to the basics.”
Keiffer, a first-year player, and Foreman are the two seniors departing from the Warriors. Keiffer said there was no better way to end his time at BCS.
“I’m extremely happy,” he said.
Keiffer said he’ll always remember “the great friendships, tons of fun and third-place trophy” from his last year as a high-schooler.
Foreman said he’ll never forget the team’s reaction following its win over Yakutat.
Next season, BCS is joining the Peninsula Conference, Vickers said, which is loaded with talented teams such as Cook Inlet Academy, Ninilchik and Bristol Bay.
But if any team can adjust to a new environment, it’s the Warriors, he said. With a job on the North Slope that has Vickers away from the team two weeks at a time, assistant coaches Brad Rud and Scott Duplessis each ran practices in his stead. But the Warriors handled it all in stride, Vickers said.
“Our kids adapt to each coach,” he said. “It’s incredible.”
Living up to this season won’t be easy, Vickers said, but BCS has the right attitude to achieve similar success next year.
“We have a whole bunch of pure workers,” he said. “I love those guys.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected]