He is already looking forward to a potential Northern Lights Conference Tournament semifinal matchup against Wasilla, the state’s No. 2 ranked team.
First, Kodiak must get past Homer in the Bears’ opening-round game at 9:45 this morning at Wasilla High School and Wasilla must beat Skyview this evening at 8:15 p.m.
Anderson is confident both will happen.
“I want to get that game first so we can get a chance at Wasilla,” he said. “I hope we can bury them (Homer) in the first half, so I can rest the starters for the next night.”
A victory against Homer will not be as easy it sounds.
Homer (4-6 NLC) is as hot as Kodiak (4-6, 10-12 overall) and enters the postseason after knocking off Kenai and Soldotna the past two weeks to earn the South Division’s No. 2.
“I was really surprised that they got the second seed,” Anderson said. “It just shows the balance of the region this year — other than Wasilla and Skyview. There are six teams that are just solid.”
The same could be said about Kodiak earning the North’s No. 3 seed. The Bears started 0-6 in conference play before rattling off four consecutive wins the final two weeks of the season — one of those victories was a 45-42 win over Homer.
“We played zone the whole game, which I usually don’t do,” Anderson said. “It was the third game in a three-day road trip, so we kind of gave them a little rest. We played real lackadaisical and somber in the first half.”
Anderson talked more about a potential rematch against Wasilla during Tuesday’s practice than he did about today’s game against Homer.
In last year’s NLC title game, Kodiak led heavily-favored Wasilla in the fourth quarter, only to fall 43-31.
This year, the Warriors beat the Bears by 16 and 25 points, but Anderson said the 62 points his team scored against Wasilla was the second highest amount given up by the Warriors this season.
“If I’m the Wasilla coach I’m thinking, ‘Really, do we want to play Kodiak in the second round?’” Anderson said. “We gave them such a fit last year without any showing at all during the regular season. The pressure is on them. We have nothing to lose. They have everything to lose.”
This year, only the two teams that advance to Saturday’s title game qualify for the 4A state tournament in two weeks at Anchorage.
However, the Bears could still get one of the two statewide at-large berths, awarded to teams based on their winning index percentage.
On the other side of the bracket, Palmer plays Kenai at 1:15 p.m., while Colony battles Soldotna at 4:45 p.m.
The Bears believe they will make another run through the NLC tournament and advance to state just like they did last year.
“We are going to pull off something good,” junior Jemuel Medina said. “Teams are not going to be expecting how we are now. We started off bad, but now we are at the top of our level.”
9:45 a.m. — North No. 3 Kodiak vs. South No. 2 Homer (Game 2); 1:15 p.m. — North No. 4 Palmer vs. South No. 1 Kenai (Game 4); 4:45 p.m. — North No. 2 Colony vs. South No. 3 Soldotna (Game 6); 8:15 p.m. — North No. 1 Wasilla vs. South No. 4 Skyview (Game 8)
9:45 a.m. — Loser of Game 6 vs. Loser of Game 4 (Game 10); 1:15 p.m. — Loser of Game 2 vs. Loser of Game 4 (Game 12); 4:45 p.m. — Winner of Game 6 vs. Winner of Game 4 (Game 14); 8:15 p.m. — Winner of game 2 vs. Winner of Game 8 (Game 16)
10:45 a.m. — Winner of Game 12 vs. Winner of Game 10 (fourth-place game); 2:15 p.m. — Loser of Game 16 vs. Loser of Game 14 (third-place game); 8 p.m. — Winner of Game 16 vs. Winner of Game 14 (Championship game)