Warriors return to state
The Warriors are heading back to state.
With a 44-27 win over Cook Inlet Academy in the Peninsula Conference tournament second-place game Saturday, Birchwood Christian School's boys basketball team earned its second straight state berth. Tournament-host Lumen Christi won the championship 47-43 over CIA on Friday.
It was all BCS early on. The Warriors opened the game on a 12-0 run and built a 16-point lead by halftime.
Earning the momentum early keyed the victory, said Warriors' coach Brad Rud.
"We needed to make some early shots and we did," he said.
Most of them came from senior Caleb Duplessis.
Duplessis pumped in a game-high 24 points, nearly outscoring CIA by himself.
"He came out shooting the lights out," Rud said.
After a disappointing shooting percentage in the past few games, Duplessis said he was dialed in against the Eagles.
"I finally got a game where I was on with my shots," he said.
Fourth-seeded CIA knocked No. 1 Birchwood into the loser's bracket after a 46-32 upset Thursday. This time around, the Warriors made adjustments, Rud said, and were prepared for the Eagles.
"The players executed extremely well," he said.
Three and a half hours before meeting CIA on Saturday, BCS downed Ninilchik 43-27 in an elimination game. Holding a one-point lead, the Warriors outscored Ninilchik 19-4 in the final period. Mike Rud paced BCS with 20 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter.
"We asked a lot from them and they came through," coach Rud said.
The Warriors' quest for the Class 1A state title begins March 16. Last year, BCS finished third at the 2A level.
On the girls side, Birchwood's season ended with a 35-27 loss to Lumen Christi. Seniors Ariel Rud (14 points) and Katelynn Becker (10) led the Warriors. Nikolaevsk won the championship and CIA finished second.
Despite the loss, BCS ended its season in top form, head coach Tamie Vickers said.
"They finished the strongest I've ever seen them play," she said. "I couldn't be more proud of them."