A week after upsetting then-No. 4 Colony twice, the Bears entertain top-ranked Wasilla in a pair of Northern Lights Conference games beginning at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
Saturday’s game tips at 4 p.m.
Wasilla, the defending NLC and state champions, is off to another hot start with a 1-0 NLC record, 6-0 overall.
“They have size, they have a good outside game. They can dribble-drive, they press a lot, so we have been working a lot on our stuff and breaking the pressure to prepare to play them,” Kodiak coach Stephanie Dandliker said.
Despite Wasilla being undefeated, Kodiak (2-0, 6-3) enters the weekend as the NLC North Division leaders after sweeping Colony for the first time in school history last weekend.
Saturday’s 59-47 victory over Colony was Kodiak’s most complete outing this season.
“Anytime you are just going all out for the whole game, things are going to go your way,” Dandliker said. “We played more cohesively as a team and I’m hoping we can take that and keep going from there.”
Before last week’s games, Dandliker challenged her team to be more aggressive on offense. That showed as Kodiak went to the free-throw line 56 times in the two contests.
“When you got the ball under the basket, go up strong. You either are going to finish it or you are going to get fouled,” Dandliker said. That was our main focus last week, is just getting the girls to be a little more aggressive.”
Getting to the free-throw line is one thing; making the shots is another. Kodiak hit 29 of 56 last week and for the season is only shooting 47 percent.
Dandliker said she would like the team to be at 70 percent, and they work on free throw shooting at nearly every practice.
“You try to put them in pressure situations where they are having to run if they miss their free throws,” she said.
It’s going to take more than excellent free throw shooting to beat Wasilla. The Warriors have a trio of 6-footers and all-conference performers Alyssa Hutchins and Alexis Imoe.
Pherrai Brumbaugh, a second-team all-conference player last season, joined Wasilla this year after transferring from Colony.
“We are going to have to guard their shooters and help out our post players ... we are going to have to be able to dig it out of the post while still being able to recover to the shooters,” Dandliker said.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at sports@