The NLC basketball power rankings debuted in 2012. Over that span, I do not recall Soldotna owning the top spots. The Stars do this week.
Soldotna’s boys and girls have combined for a 21-1 record, which is why they landed No. 1 in this week’s rankings.
1. Soldotna (10-1 overall, 2-0 NLC) — After beginning the season with a loss to defending 3A state champion Anchorage Christian School, Soldotna has reeled off 10 straight wins. Kodiak threatened the streak, but Soldotna hit a game-winning bucket with less than 10 seconds left on the second night of a back-to-back.
Up next: Nikiski (late Tuesday) and Palmer.
2. Colony (5-2, 0-0) — After suffering a first-round overtime loss to West Valley (57-51), the Knights finished the O’Brady’s Invitational at South Anchorage High School with dominating wins over ACS (69-64) and Ketchikan (99-64). West Valley, which is 6-1, won the tournament.
Up next:Palmer (late Tuesday) and the Alaska Airlines Tournament.
3. Palmer (5-4, 1-0) — The Moose have caught fire, winning five of their last six games. The most impressive win during the streak: A 46-40 victory over Wasilla, which broke a nine-game losing skid against the Warriors, a skid that dated back to 2016. Dan Osiensky sparked Palmer with 17 points.
Palmer followed its big win by going 2-1 in its own tournament — the Elks Showdown. The Moose beat Valdez (63-52) and Eagle River (54-45) and lost to Chugiak (69-64).
Up next: Colony (late Tuesday) and Soldotna (Friday).
4. Wasilla (3-5, 0-1) — Wasilla is reeling. The Warriors have lost three straight, which included a tough defeat in their conference opener to rival Palmer (46-40). Luke Devine led Wasilla with a dozen points.
Up next: Kodiak (Friday and Saturday)
5. Kodiak (3-6, 0-2) — The Bears have been under 35 points in five of their six losses this season, which includes back-to-back 32-point performances against Soldotna last week. Kodiak’s offense comes alive when facing lower classification teams, posting a 3-1 record and averaging 51 points.
Up next: Wasilla (Friday and Saturday)
1. Soldotna (11-0 overall, 2-0 NLC) — Last season, the Stars won their first 16 games before finishing the year with a 25-6 record. The Stars have opened this season with 11 straight wins after sweeping Kodiak over the weekend.
“We are focusing right now getting through the first half and getting to the Dimond tournament to see where we stack up,” Soldotna coach Kyle McFall said. “Our goals for this season are to get to the region championship game again, this time finish it. Last year we got to the state semifinal game, so they all know what it feels like and what it means to be there, so hopefully, we can advance to the next level and take that next step.”
Up next: Nikiski (late Tuesday) and Palmer (Friday)
2. Colony (8-1, 0-0) — Colony took out a pair of Cook Inlet Conference teams last week, beating Chugiak (50-45) and West Anchorage (56-43).
Up next: Palmer (late Tuesday).
3. Wasilla (5-5, 1-0) — Wasilla might have struggled through the first nine games, but it got back on track against conference rival Palmer, beating the Moose 70-34 last week. Bella Hayes poured in a monster line against Palmer: 22 points and 14 rebounds.
And look out, Wasilla’s junior varsity team means business, winning the Cordova Tip-Off Tournament. The JV squad beat Unalaska (47-38), Cordova (70-28) and Scammon Bay (56-31).
Up next: ACS (late Tuesday), Chugiak (Thursday) and Kodiak (Friday and Saturday)
4. Kodiak (4-4, 0-2) — Kodiak was blitzed at home by a Soldotna team loaded with talent. The Bears did show their grit, after falling behind 25-0 in the second game of a back-to-back, they responded to outscore the Stars 13-6 in the second quarter.
Up next: Wasilla (Friday and Saturday)
5. Palmer (2-8, 0-1) — It was a rough week for the Moose, losing to rival Wasilla (70-34), Valdez (46-40) and Juneau (50-33). Palmer did finish its own tournament — the Elks Showdown — with a victory over Eagle River (44-32). Catherine Uschmann and Liv Solis were named to the all-tournament team.
Up next: Colony (late Tuesday) and Soldotna (Friday)