Kodiak High basketball will have a new conference opponent beginning in the 2021-22 season.
Anchorage Christian School, a private school in Anchorage, moved up to the 4A classification and was placed in the Northern Lights Conference by the Alaska School Activities Association. The move — along with the Monroe Catholic boys jump to 4A — was adopted at January’s ASAA board meeting.
Fairbanks-based Monroe joins the Mid Alaska Conference that already houses Fairbanks schools Lathrop, North Pole and West Valley. The Monroe girls will remain in the 3A Aurora Conference.
ACS — with far less students than any other 4A school — will now play Kodiak, Colony, Wasilla, Palmer and Soldotna twice a season.
“They can be (a powerhouse), it just depends on how they get their recruits each year … and depends which coach is in there,” Kodiak boys coach David Anderson said. “It will be good for the conference and makes the basketball more exciting.”
ACS and Monroe were placed in the 4A classification — the highest in the state — based on each schools’ success in the past five years. A two-part analysis was used by ASAA that moved the two private schools up a classification. All statewide boarding schools and all schools within 25 miles of Anchorage, Fairbanks, Wasilla and Soldotna were looked at in data analysis.
Step one included winning percentage against teams at a higher classification, winning percentage against teams at the same classification, state tournament appearances over the past eight years and a scoring system based on state performances.
Teams receiving five or more checks in step one advanced to step two.
Step two included teams with players participating in “out of season” games/scrimmages/leagues, teams having four or more transfers over three years and schools which allow students from outside their boundaries to attend.
Teams receiving two or more checks in step two would move up a classification and remain there until the next classification cycle, which happens every third spring.
The ACS and Monroe boys have appeared in nine straight 3A state tournaments. Monroe has three titles (2012, 2013 and 2014) and ACS has two (2011 and 2019) during that stretch. The two teams played in the championship game from 2011 to 2014.
The ACS girls have claimed seven 3A state titles since 2008. In 2019, the Anchorage Daily News ran a story with a headline, “Anchorage Christian School girls are so dominant, their opponents are forfeiting games.
ASAA Executive Director Billy Strickland spoke to KTVF in Fairbanks for a story that ran on Jan. 15.
“I think everyone agrees that the intent of classifications is to put like-schools together in competing for championships,” he told the news station. “Historically, I think most models of classifications were based on the enrollment size of a school. That system is pushing 40 years old now. I think schools have changed a lot and I think the feeling is, with the advent of alternative education and more school choice, the fluidity of how athletes are attending schools have really changed what makes you competitive in certain settings. Competitiveness is what we have gone to.”
KTVF reported that Grace Christian just missed moving up to 4A.
With schools in the Mat-Su Valley closed because of a surge in COVID-19 cases, Soldotna was the only school in the Northern Lights Conference to play last week.
Soldotna girls — The Stars pushed their record to 7-0 with a string of victories on the Kenai Peninsula last week. Soldotna defeated Homer (43-15), Kenai (54-35), Seward (55-26). The Stars have dominated every school on the Peninsula, winning by an average of 34 points.
Soldotna boys — Soldotna boys earned their first victory of the season last week, 59-32 over Seward. The Stars also dropped games to Homer (52-45) and Kenai (43-38) to fall to 1-5 on the season. Ethan Sewell went off in the victory, tallying a season-high 28 points.
GOOD IN WRANGELL
A familiar face to Kodiak is the head coach of the Wrangell Lady Wolves.
Christy Good, who helped with the Kodiak High girls program last season, moved to Wrangell this past summer and was hired as the new girls basketball coach. Good’s team split a two-game set with Petersburg to begin the season a week ago.
Wrangell is 2A and plays in the Southeast Conference. Good is the wife of former commander of Coast Guard base Kodiak.
Boys — Games in the Cook Inlet Conference tipped last week and Dimond and East Anchorage were the big winners. The Lynx grabbed victories over South Anchorage (80-72) and West Anchorage (62-54). The T-Birds defeated Eagle River (80-42) and Service (70-52). Bartlett went 1-1, topping Eagle River (56-35) and losing to Service (63-60).
Girls — Bartlett crushed its first two games, taking out Service (80-20) and Eagle River (67-14). Dimond defeated South Anchorage (65-30) and East trounced Service (63-17).