Nicole Mrugala started 2012 the way she ended 2011 — perfect.
The senior Chugiak-Eagle River netminder turned aside all 25 shots from Dimond-West to earn her second straight shutout in CER’s 2-0 win Jan. 4 at Ben Boeke Ice Arena. Mrugala recorded a 17-save shutout against Service-East on Dec. 16 in CER’s final game before the holiday break.
Dimond-West threw more shots on net through the first two periods than Service-East did all game — but that didn’t faze Mrugala.
Chris Parker led four Eagle River Wolves in double figures with 16 points to lead his team to a 72-53 Cook Inlet Conference win over South Friday night at Eagle River. The win moved the Wolves to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the CIC.
Also winning Friday night were the Chugiak girls, who got 11 points off the bench from Brandi Bookout to key a 46-38 win over Service to move to 2-0 in the CIC.
Chugiak High senior Jessi McMullen, 17, helped the Mustangs to a second-place finish and was named to the all-tournament team at the Cactus Jam girls basketball tournament in Phoenix on Dec. 27-30. McMullen also added 10 points in Chugiak’s 64-39 CIC win over West Anchorage on Tuesday, Jan. 3. This is McMullen’s third year on varsity. She is the daughter of Greg and Carrie McMullen of Eagle River.
Missing the state tournament last year has Chugiak High’s girls basketball team more motivated for this season. But it won’t be easy getting there this year.
Only the top two Cook Inlet Conference teams will earn automatic state berths. Other automatic Class 4A berths include two from the Northern Lights Conference and one from the Southeast and Mid Alaska conferences.
The final two spots will be determined by Winning Percentage Index standings. This is the first time WPI will be used to determine who goes to state.
Missing state last year coupled with the new rule that guarantees only two Cook Inlet Conference berths in the postseason this year, Chugiak’s girls didn’t need any extra motivation heading into their first CIC game Tuesday, Jan. 3. But they got it.
Coming into their matchup with West Anchorage, the Mustangs were dubbed “the mystery team.” That nickname only lasted eight minutes.
Even the start of a new sports season can’t erase the way Chugiak High’s 2011 football campaign ended.
Chugiak was forced to forfeit three of its wins due to use of an ineligible player and missed the playoffs. But some of those football players are hoping to use what happened this fall as fuel for the 2011-12 basketball season.
“It’s motivation for us football players to exceed in another sport,” senior Steven Puterbaugh said.