A regular-season basketball game that happened two decades ago remains fresh in the mind of veteran Kodiak coach David Anderson.
On Jan. 29, 2000, the Kodiak High girls registered one of their most significant victories in years by stunning Colony, the state’s top-ranked 4A team, 44-40 on The Rock.
“Beating a No. 1 team that would stand up there with any game that we won with the girls’ program,” said Anderson, now in his 12th season as the Kodiak boys coach.
The victory came against Jessica Moore, Colony’s powerful 6-foot-3 senior. Moore later won three NCAA Division I National Championships with the University of Connecticut and played eight years in the WNBA with the Charlotte Sting, Los Angeles Sparks, Indiana Fever, Connecticut Sun and Atlanta Dream. The Sting selected Moore with the 24th pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft.
“She was a very dominant player — I would say she was probably one of the better players that we have seen in the state of Alaska,” Anderson said. “Her size, i tself, was intimidating.”
Moore was less than efficient in her final game against Kodiak. Guarded mostly by Clare Fulp and Monica Scarr-Pryor, Moore was limited to 8 points on 4 of 17 shots from the field. The four-point victory was Kodiak’s first against Colony since 1995.
“We frustrated her so much that night,” Anderson said. “We double-teamed her everywhere on the court. She had a tough time just getting the basketball in her hands — even rebounds. The rest of her team was so confused on what we were doing that they couldn’t fathom that she was never open — 90% of their offense ran through her.”
Moore did have a great game against Kodiak. The year before — Anderson’s first as head coach — Moore dropped 34 points in a victory. Every time after that, Anderson’s game-plan centered around stopping Moore. It worked. The day after dropping 34, Kodiak limited her to 2 points at halftime (the Daily Mirror didn’t report Moore’s final point total). The game before the upset in 2000, Moore was held to 14 points. However, her teammates stepped up on those two occasions and helped Colony to victory. That didn’t happen in the third meeting.
“I’m glad we broke their streak here at home. I’ve never beaten them in my career,” senior Leslie Agmata told the Daily Mirror in 2000. “Even though we have been losing, we never lost faith in ourselves. We were always positive.”
Fueled by a 16-2 run, Kodiak started the second quarter up 18-8. The lead remained at 10 points — 30-20 — at intermission. Colony’s Cindy Beckman scored six of her team-high 10 points in the middle of the third to pull the Knights to 34-29. Still, with two recent fourth-quarter collapses, Kodiak was not feeling comfortable.
“They just need to get over that hump,” Anderson told the Daily Mirror before the 2000 game. “Somebody needs to step up and take charge.”
According to the Daily Mirror article, the entire team stepped up in the final eight minutes.
After Colony trimmed the gap to 38-36, Fulp buried a 3-pointer to extend the margin to five points. However, the Bears went one for six from the free-throw line after that, which let the Knights creep within one point with 1:40 left in the contest.
Following a steal, Colony had the chance to take the lead, but Moore was called for an offensive charge, putting her on the bench with five fouls. Kodiak answered with a game-sealing breakaway layup by Cristine Bennett with 20 ticks left.
“That is the best feeling in the world,” Bennett told the Daily Mirror in 2000. “The difference was the rebounding and playing with intensity for the whole game.”
Fulp led Kodiak with 15 points, while Scarr-Pryor added nine points.
“They were both great players back then. They were the horses for us. They did everything — rebound, scoring and playing defense,” Anderson said.
Kodiak finished the season with a 6-19 record, while Colony lost to East Anchorage in the state championship game. With Moore, the Knights reached the state finals four times, winning it all in 1997 and 1998. Moore won three national championships with UConn, averaging 8.4 points and 5.8 rebounds during her four-year career. In eight seasons in the WNBA, Moore averaged 2.9 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. She spent most of her career coming off the bench, starting in only 61 of 222 games.