A marquee matchup between state-ranked girls basketball teams will close out the gymnasium at Kodiak High School.
Third-ranked Kodiak entertains No. 2 Dimond tonight and Saturday in the final basketball games played in the current gym and the final games of the regular season. The gym will close sometime in the spring as renovations begin. Kodiak sports historian Joe Floyd said the gym has been used since the 1969-70 school year. Several renovations have been done since then, including three replacements of the hardwood floor.
Friday’s nonconference contest tips at 7:30 p.m., while Saturday’s endowment game begins at 3 p.m. Saturday’s game doesn’t count toward records, because Kodiak is at the maximum number of regular-season games allowed (24) — the Bears actually will have 25 games after Friday night, but the four-game Lady Lynx Tournament counts as three games.
This is Dimond’s first appearance in Kodiak since the 2010 Joe Floyd Tournament. The Lynx, a perennial state power from the Cook Inlet Conference, are 23-3 on the season. Dimond’s only loss against an Alaska opponent was to Wasilla in the finals of the Lady Lynx Tournament. In that tournament, Dimond snapped Kodiak’s 17-game win streak.
“We didn’t play bad against them, we really didn’t,” Kodiak coach Stephanie Smiley said. “I thought turnovers hurt us, but for the most part we played all right; we just were not making shots.”
Kodiak shot 24 percent form the floor and missed 13 of its 17 free throws while committing 16 turnovers in the loss.
Turnovers have plagued Kodiak this season. In the Bears’ two losses at No. 1 Wasilla last week, the team combined for 46 turnovers. Kodiak played without starting guard Jerica Nelson, who was back in Kodiak resting an injured ankle.
Smiley hasn’t decided if Nelson will return to the lineup tonight.
“Everything that we are doing we are preparing for our region tournament,” Smiley said. “As a coach you struggle with, do I sit her again and save her and if you do that you are going to be throwing her in after two weeks of not playing. You try to find a good balance between those two.”
Kodiak (19-5) is the No. 2 seed for the Northern Lights Conference Championships that begin March 7 at Soldotna. As the second seed, the Bears receive a first-round bye and a berth into one of Friday’s semifinal games.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.