Michael Dinneen

Having just finished fourth in the state tournament with an impressive 66-47 win against West Anchorage in the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships, sixth-year Chugiak coach Ryan Hales has reason to be optimistic for the future with his family of young athletes.

Sophomore and all-tournament selection Chasity Horn stayed hot throughout the tournament, finishing with 20 points against the Eagles last Saturday, which followed a career-high 30 against Ketchikan to reach the consolation bracket final.

A second-place finish in conference and third in state is less than the 18-11 regular season Chugiak Mustangs wanted, but still a strong finish overall, and their best result in many a year.

To get there, the Mustangs dominated in overtime of the third-place game against West Anchorage in the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championships.

Chugiak defeated the Eagles 62-54 for the second time in as many weeks in a playoff setting.

After its nine-game winning streak was snapped against top-seeded Noatak the night before, Birchwood Christian went into the offseason on a high note by capturing third place 56-41 over Newhalen in the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 1A Basketball State Championships.

Led by 17 points and 9 rebounds from Peter Swanberg and a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds from Seth Alexander, the Warriors blew open a game that they trailed by a point at halftime.

The Birchwood Christian Warriors ran their winning streak to eight straight with a 60-30 win against James C. Isabelle High in the first round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 1A Basketball State Championships.

Led by seven seniors and making its first state appearance in five years, Birchwood Christian (20-3) is building on its perfect 14-0 conference season and its Peninsula Conference Tournament title.

Up next is Kipnuk today at 5 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center on the UAA Campus.

Chugiak’s girls earned an at-large bid to the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Basketball State Championships with a win in the third-place game of the Cook Inlet Conference tournament last Saturday.

The Lady Mustangs (18-6, 11-5) held off Bartlett for a 55-51 win led by 18 points from Eva Palmer and 11 from Chastity Horn. Both earned All-CIC team honors.

“They came out a lot stronger than we thought they would,” Palmer said. “They didn’t have anything to lose. I give them credit for giving us a run for our money.”

After knocking off West High with a buzzer-beating shot in the semifinals the night before, Chugiak couldn’t find the same magic against the Dimond Lynx last Saturday and fell in the Cook Inlet Conference championship by a final of 56-52 in overtime.

The runner-up finish in the CIC earned the Mustangs (18-11, 11-6) a berth in the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Basketball State Championships and they’ll face West Valley next Thursday, March 22, at 3:30 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center on the UAA campus.

Employing a stifling trap defense the Chugiak Mustangs held the visiting Eagle River Wolves scoreless for the entire first period of their Saturday night game. On most nights, that portends a good outcome.

This night however, would be different. The Mustangs (15-10, 8-5) led by a scant four points then, and coach Jocquis Sconiers was right to be worried. At the end of yet another pounding Mustangs vs. Wolves basketball game, the annual Birchwood Bowl trophy was being hoisted by the team in dark blue for the first time in quite a few seasons after a 38-31 victory.

Under brilliant blue skies last Sunday afternoon, Steve Johnson, with his wife Barb beside him, addressed a crowd of some 200-some colorfully clad skiers gathered at Beach Lake Ski Trails Sunday afternoon, thanking them for their support over the last nine months.

Not that he needed or wanted extra time to speak, but the race start was delayed due to the last-minute influx of registrants wanting to join the annual Ski The Beach race, held the last Sunday of February at the trails to support the local ski club.

Eagle River jumped on East for a 16-point halftime lead and held on for a 66-56 win last Thursday before falling at West over the weekend.

Ryan Adkins exploded for 25 points along with 6 rebounds and Bryson Rollman chipped in 10 for the Wolves against East. Aaron Davis led Eagle River in rebounds with 12 in the win.

For the opening four minutes of last Saturday’s basketball game at West, the Eagle River Wolves couldn’t find the bottom of the net and found themselves in an 8-0 deficit.

Handily defeating the West Eagles by a 63-38 margin last Thursday night gave Chugiak coach Ryan Hales plenty of opportunity to rest his Lady Mustangs starters in the second half as the regular season heads into its final two weeks.

Led by Eva Palmer’s 20 and Chasity Horn’s 16, the Lady Mustangs outscored West 20-3 in the third quarter to blow open the game.

Chugiak (14-6, 7-3) has a solid hold on the third seed in the Cook Inlet Conference after beating Eagle River 52-5 the next night before losing to East 58-44 on Saturday.