Sandra Gregory has learned over the years not to mess with Ava Pruitt’s food.
The longtime Kodiak girls basketball coach — known for pulling pranks on her players — found that out two years ago when, while on an off-island trip, the team stopped at Dairy Queen.
Gregory slipped the cashier $5 to put jalapeños in the ice cream her players ordered. The doctored Blizzard did not sit well with Pruitt.
“If looks could kill, I would have been dead 10 times over,” Gregory said. “So, we don’t mess with her ice cream.”
Pruitt, nearing the end of her high school hoops career, recalled that incident at a practice earlier this week.
“I thought I was the only one that got it (jalapeños),” Pruitt said.
This weekend, when Kodiak hosts Colony in a pair of Northern Lights Conference games, Pruitt and fellow senior Aurora Berg will be making their final appearances on their home hardwood. Tonight’s game tips at 7 p.m., while Saturday’s home finale begins at 1:30 p.m.
“The season went by really fast,” Berg said. “It was like yesterday that we just started.”
Berg and Pruitt, both softball stars who were on last year’s Kodiak team that placed third in the small-school tournament, have been hooping it up since elementary school. Pruitt advanced to varsity by her sophomore season, while Berg appeared in games as a junior.
Both girls have enjoyed being part of a program that has won two 4A state titles — 1981 and 2014. In 2014, the team went undefeated with a 27-0 record.
“When I was little, I wanted to play and be like that,” Berg said. “I thought it was going to be a fantasy, but it is just normal.”
The current Bears haven’t found the same success as the ones before them, but Berg and Pruitt have both remained dedicated to the program.
“We really want that win,” Pruitt said.
Being around teammates who are friends has made the rough patches seem not so harsh.
“This team is so much fun,” Berg said. “We laugh a lot and have a lot of jokes. We mesh together really well.”
After high school, Berg — a certified welder — plans to take an underwater welding class in Seattle. She hopes that her career takes her to the Caribbean, where she will do underwater welding internationally.
Pruitt hasn’t pinpointed her career path but said she would either go to college in the Pacific Northwest or enlist in the military.
“We are going to miss them. They are characters and part of us,” Gregory said. “It is going
to be sad to lose them,” Gregory said.
Pruitt and Berg will be honored before tonight’s game.
Colony comes to The Rock ranked third in the latest Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches poll.
The Knights are 12-3 overall, 1-1 in the NLC. Colony topped Wasilla by two points and lost to Soldotna.
Gregory watched Colony at the Dimond Lady Lynx Prep Shootout and walked away impressed with what she saw.
“I’m not sure how we are going to stop No. 20 (Indiya Clark),” coach said.
Clark is a 5-foot-10 small forward who, Gregory says, can shoot from the perimeter and drive.
Kodiak (4-12, 0-4) held halftime leads in two of their final three games at the Lady Lynx tournament but couldn’t hold on in the second half.
“We are having a hard time putting a complete game together instead of just halves,” Gregory said.