Wasilla denied Kodiak its first Northern Lights Conference girls basketball title in more than three decades Saturday afternoon.

The unbeaten Warriors were never challenged in a 61-29 win over the Bears in the NLC championship game at Soldotna High School.

The 32-point loss stings, but the Bears have a chance at redemption. Both top seed Wasilla and No. 2 Kodiak qualified for the 4A state tournament that begins March 21 in Anchorage.

Kodiak (20-7) earned its first trip to state since 2010 and fourth since 1987 by putting on a defensive clinic in Friday’s 34-18 semifinal victory over No. 3 Colony.

Wasilla one-upped Kodiak on Saturday.

The Warriors’ defense generated 19 steals and forced Kodiak into 26 turnovers with a dizzying trapping press to improve to 27-0 on the year. The win was Wasilla’s 26th double-digit victory and 20th by more than 20 points.

When the Bears beat the press, they struggled to convert. Kodiak shot only 25 percent (8 for 29), while Wasilla scored 28 points off of turnovers and shot 44 percent from the field (22 for 46).

Wasilla, the two-time defending state champions, outrebounded Kodiak by 13 and had 11 assists to the Bears’ two.

University of Alaska Anchorage recruit Alysha Devine dominated the inside and led Wasilla with 18 points, while Alexis Imoe had 17 points. Kyla Dinkle contributed 11 rebounds and eight points.

Kodiak was playing in its first conference championship game since 1987 and searching for its first title since 1983.

Jerica Nelson provided early excitement for Kodiak by hitting a 3-pointer off the opening tip.

That excitement faded as Wasilla scored eight points off four consecutive Kodiak turnovers to take the lead for good.

The Warriors led 21-10 after the first and scored the first 10 points in the second to build a 21-point advantage.

Wasilla led 40-16 at halftime and held a 32-point advantage to begin the fourth.

Hannah Wandersee paced Kodiak with eight points, while Carissa Cannon added seven.

Kodiak 34,

Colony 18

Kodiak blitzed Colony with its best defensive game of the season to earn a 34-18 semifinal victory Friday night.

Kodiak’s defense was the star of the game. The Bears shutout the Knights in the third quarter, held them to 17.5 percent shooting from the field (7 for 40) and forced 20 turnovers. This was Kodiak’s fourth win over Colony this season — the first three were decided by fewer than six points apiece.

Colony jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on back-to-back 3-pointers, but after that it was all Kodiak.

After tying it at 10, the Bears went on a crushing 26-2 run that started in the second and ended in the fourth. Cannon’s second 3-pointer gave Kodiak a 34-12 lead to begin the final period. Kodiak did not score the remainder of the game, but the damage was already done.

Cannon ended with 12 points, while Wandersee added eight points and six rebounds.

Megan Pyles scored all of Kodiak’s six points in the third quarter and finished with seven points and nine rebounds.

Mary Klapperich scored five for Colony and shot just 2 for 15 from the field.

The Knights rebounded from the loss to defeat Soldotna 47-46 in Saturday’s third-place game.

Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiakdailymirror.com.

Saturday

Championship

WARRIORS 61, BEARS 29

Kodiak 10 6 5 8 — 29

Wasilla 21 19 13 8 — 61

Kodiak (29) — Fabricante 0 0-0 0, Horn 0 0-0 0, Nelson 2 0-0 5, Ng 1 1-2 4, Cannon 3 1-2 7, Patterson 0 0-0 0, Pyles 1 3-4 5, Wandersee 3 2-2 8. Totals — 10 7-10 29.

Wasilla (61) — Ford 1 2-2 4, Imoe 4 8-8 17, Devine 8 2-4 18, Towes 1 0-0 2, Hutchins 2 0-0 4, Dinkle 3 2-2 8, Edwards 0 0-0 0, Burke 4 0-0 8. Totals — 23 14-16 61.

Three-point goals — Kodiak 2 (Nelson, Ng); Wasilla 1 (Imoe).

Total fouls — Kodiak 15, Wasilla 10.

Friday

Semifinal

BEARS 34, KNIGHTS 18

Kodiak 8 17 6 3 — 34

Colony 8 4 0 6 — 18

Kodiak (34) — Horn 0 0-0 0, Nelson 2 0-0 4, Ng 1 0-0 3, Cannon 4 2-4 12, Pyles 3 1-2 7, Wandersee 4 0-0 8. Totals — 14 3-6 34.

Colony (18) — Klapperich 2 0-0 5, Farris 1 0-0 2, Tweed 1 0-0 3, Stephens 0 0-0 0, Turcotte 1 0-2 2, Willardson 1 0-0 2, Brumbaugh 0 0-0 0, Michaelson 0 0-0 0, Solano 1 2-2 4. Totals — 7 2-4 18.

Three-point goals — Kodiak 3 (Cannon 2, Ng 1); Colony 2 (Klapperich, Tweed).

Total fouls — Kodiak 8; Colony 5.

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