David Anderson reminded me this past weekend that winning isn’t mandatory during the regular season of high school athletics in Alaska.
The Kodiak boys’ basketball coach is right.
Look no further than his 2011 team that went 1-9 during the Northern Lights Conference regular season and somehow turned things around and earned a place at state by finishing second in the conference tournament.
I didn’t have time to skim through the history books to look for other basketball examples, but I’m sure they are out there.
I’ve seen sub-.500 football teams reach the postseason, and just recently a Kodiak wrestler, who went winless at regionals, still qualified for the state meet.
What I have found out during my time at the Daily Mirror sports desk is that this state likes to reward every high school athlete. I’m fine with that. It makes for good stories.
Here is hoping Kodiak’s boys (2-12) turn it around and duplicate what the 2011 team did. With eight NLC games left, the Bears have the luxury of righting the ship much sooner.
The Colony boys and Wasilla girls remained atop this week’s Mirror NLC power rankings.
1. Colony (11-5, 6-0 NLC) — Colony remained undefeated in conference play with victories over Wasilla (49-47) and Kodiak (57-48 and 59-30). The Knights needed a pair of free throws at the end of the game to beat the Warriors.
2. Wasilla (8-7, 3-1) — It was a rough week for the Warriors with losses to Colony and 3A Barrow (56-49) that snapped a four-game winning streak.
3. Soldotna (6-8, 2-2) — Outside Colony, Soldotna had the biggest week in the NLC. The Stars edged out Kenai (67-63) and Palmer (45-39).
4. Palmer (5-9, 1-3) — Freshman Clayton Southwick continued to impress for Palmer as the big man scored 19 points in a victory against Kenai (68-56). The Moose also lost to Soldotna.
5. Kenai (4-10, 0-4) — One of the two teams without a conference win will not be winless by this time next week as Kodiak travels to Kenai for a pair of games. Kenai suffered losses to Soldotna and Palmer last week.
6. Kodiak (2-12, 0-2) — Kodiak probably played its best game of the season last week, but still came up nine points short of beating Colony. The Bears then lost by 29 points the next night.
1. Wasilla (11-3, 4-0) — The Warriors eight-game winning streak ended last week with a tough loss to Cook Inlet Conference Chugiak (47-44). Wasilla remained on top with victories over Colony (48-44) and Service (63-21)
2. Colony (10-1, 5-1) — Colony grabbed firm control of the second spot by sweeping Kodiak (50-27 and 48-40) behind the shooting performance of Faith Farris.
3. Kodiak (8-4, 4-2) — Kodiak showed some grit over the weekend in Colony. After losing by 23 points, the Bears led for most of the next game before falling to the Knights by eight points. Kodiak gets a taste of 3A competition when it plays Sitka, Seward and ACS at the Seward Tournament that begins Thursday.
4. Soldotna (5-8, 1-3) — The Stars had an up-and-down week, beating Peninsula rival Kenai (34-23) and losing to Palmer (40-24).
5. Palmer (5-7, 1-5) — The bottom three are beating up on each other as Palmer lost to Kenai (50-31) and beat Soldotna last week.
6. Kenai (2-10, 1-5) — The Kards picked up their first NLC victory since Valentine’s Day 2012 by beating Palmer last week.
Contact Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.