The 2006-07 season was the last time the Kodiak girls basketball team finished with a regular-season record above .500.
Bears coach Brett Larsen, in his fourth year, would like to change that.
Kodiak has a shot to make that happen as it enters the final two games of the regular season with a 9-8 record.
But, even Larsen knows it will be difficult to achieve. In order to finish above .500 Kodiak has to sweep Northern Lights Conference foe Colony at Colony tonight and Saturday.
That is no easy task.
The Knights’ (6-2 NLC) only two conference losses this season are to Wasilla, who is 7-0 in the NLC.
At this point, Larsen is at least hoping for a split.
“That would be a good thing,” he said. “They are playing good. We got them down here last year and they came out the next night and took it to us. We are going to really have to come out pretty sharp, especially on the road.”
Last season, Kodiak snapped a 20-game losing skid to Colony with a 46-41 victory. On the next night, Colony started a new streak with a 46-33 win.
Kodiak’s odds of finishing above .500 took a hit when it lost at Soldotna and Kenai last week by a combined three points. Both games were clinched on free throws in the closing seconds.
“Hopefully we learn from how we manage to come out on the wrong end and not commit those same errors,” Larsen said.
“I don’t think we played great either night. We played good, but we didn’t play the way we have been playing the last couple of weeks.”
The losses dropped Kodiak to fourth in the North Division with a 3-5 record. The Bears can slide past Palmer (4-6) and snag the third seed in the NLC Tournament with a split of Colony. Two losses, however, and Kodiak remains the No. 4 seed.
The North’s third and fourth seed will play either Soldotna or Kenai in the opening round of the NLC Tournament, which begins next Thursday at Homer. Soldotna and Kenai play Saturday to determine the South’s first and second seed.
“I’m ecstatic that we will see one of those two in the first round,” Larsen said. “On a neutral court we can play with them and beat them. I don’t have any doubts about that.”
Kodiak is finishing the season without junior guard Jadelle Taan, who sustained an injury during practice last week, Larsen said.
Mirror writer Derek Clarkston can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches rankings
4A — 1. Juneau; 2. Wasilla; 3. Dimond; 4. Colony; 5. West Valley.
3A — 1. Barrow; 2. Galena; 3. Kotzebue; 4. Valdez; 5. Craig. Also receiving votes — Sitka, Haines.