By DEREK CLARKSTON
Kodiak’s boys and girls basketball squads will both be looking to break two-game losing skids when they play nonconference games at Grace Christian tonight.
This is the first time this season that both teams are traveling together. The two teams also play a pair of Northern Lights Conference games at Palmer on Friday and Saturday.
Both coaches are looking forward to watching their counterparts play — something they don’t get to do often during the season.
“I miss seeing some of the games when we are split across like this,” girls coach Brett Larsen said. “I like watching the boys play. It’s nice to see these kids — I know most of them.”
The last time the two teams played on the same night in the same gym was during the Joe Floyd Tournament in the first week of January.
“We do watch the games,” boys coach David Anderson said. “We support the girls just as much as we do our C and junior varsity teams. We are there for every game.”
Larsen said he enjoys the fact that the boys junior varsity plays between his junior varsity and varsity games, which gives him an extra two hours that he normally doesn’t get.
“It’s nice having that game so you can unwind and relax a little bit,” Larsen said. “It gives you time to prepare your kids a little more. It’s kind of nice.”
Despite Kodiak’s two losses to Wasilla last weekend, Larsen was pleased with how his team performed against the top-ranked team in the state.
The Bears lost by 12 points on Friday and seven points on Saturday.
“We played them just about as good as anybody has and that gives us a lot of confidence, and it lets me know that we can play with them and on a neutral court maybe we can get them,” Larsen said.
“We played at a really high level this past weekend. Hopefully, we turned the corner and we found that high point that we need to play at. If we can play at that, we are going to be pretty darn tough to beat.”
In Kodiak’s loss on Friday, the Warriors held senior guard Joanna Garcia without a point. It was only the third time in 62 games she has failed to register at least a point.
“She kind of got worn down a little bit having to deal with that press and we made some adjustments going into the second night and it helped her out a lot. She had a lot more energy,” Larsen said.
She came back Saturday and scored a season-high 16 points.
Friday and Saturday’s games against Palmer both count toward the NLC standings.
Kodiak is third in the conference at 1-2, while Palmer is fourth at 1-3.
“Coming off good games like this it is actually kind of nice to have two region games right after because we are playing good, even though we are on a two-game losing streak,” Larsen said.
The Kodiak boys have finally earned their warm-up jerseys.
Before Friday’s game against Wasilla they all came out with blue and white warm-ups.
Before that each player wore a regular shirt of their choice.
“They look good,” Anderson said. “The kids are happy to have them and it brings them together a little bit more as a team.”
At the beginning of the season, Anderson said the team had to earn the warm-ups.
The team also moved from meeting in the Kodiak High School boiler room to the library.
“We just happened to be watching game stuff in the library the other night and the kids just wanted to stay in there.”
Anderson’s next goal for the team is to finish above .500.
“We do want a winning season and with the schedule we have left I think it is very possible to have that,” he said.
The two losses to Wasilla dropped Kodiak to 6-6 overall, 1-2 in the NLC.
Even though Kodiak lost by double digits in both games, Anderson liked the improvement he saw from his team.
“We are just about right there making that corner,” he said. “These kids are starting to figure things out.”
Anderson said in order for Kodiak to reach its next goal, the team has to cut down on turnovers when it plays against Palmer on Friday.
The Moose are tied for second with Colony in the North Division at 2-2. The Bears are fourth.
“Palmer is going to be tough,” Anderson said. “They don’t have the same height that Wasilla has, but they kind of play the same game.”
Mirror writer Derek Clarkston can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.