Kodiak Daily Mirror - Kodiak girls win first NLC title since 1985
  
Kodiak girls win first NLC title since 1985
by Derek Clarkston
Mar 10, 2014 | 124 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kodiak’s Hannah Wandersee tips the ball away from Colony’s Ashley Turcotte during the Northern Lights Conference championship game Saturday at Colony High School. (Photo courtesy of The Frontiersman)
Kodiak’s Hannah Wandersee tips the ball away from Colony’s Ashley Turcotte during the Northern Lights Conference championship game Saturday at Colony High School. (Photo courtesy of The Frontiersman)
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Kodiak High School’s girls basketball team poses for a photo after claiming the Northern Lights Conference title with a 64-43 win over Colony Saturday at Colony High School. (John Cannon photo)
Kodiak High School’s girls basketball team poses for a photo after claiming the Northern Lights Conference title with a 64-43 win over Colony Saturday at Colony High School. (John Cannon photo)
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Kodiak’s Carissa Cannon cuts down a piece of the net after the  Bears clinched the Northern Lights Conference title Saturday at Colony High School. (John Cannon photo)
Kodiak’s Carissa Cannon cuts down a piece of the net after the Bears clinched the Northern Lights Conference title Saturday at Colony High School. (John Cannon photo)
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Kodiak senior Jerica Nelson gets in the way of Colony junior Sarah Brumbaugh during the Northern Lights Conference championship game Saturday at Colony High School. (Photo courtesy of The Frontiersman)
Kodiak senior Jerica Nelson gets in the way of Colony junior Sarah Brumbaugh during the Northern Lights Conference championship game Saturday at Colony High School. (Photo courtesy of The Frontiersman)
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A dominant scoring spree paved the way for Kodiak’s first regional title in more than two decades.

Down by eight points, the Bears closed the first half on a 17-2 run and never looked back, earning a 64-43 victory over Colony in the Northern Lights Conference championship game Saturday afternoon at Colony High School.

Kodiak’s last region title was in 1985, three years after the school won its first, and only girls state championship.

“That is a long, long span,” said Kodiak coach Amy Fogle Sunday afternoon. “It is pretty exciting for the kids. It is nice to be able to bring one in. They have had good seasons in the past, but to get a region title is such a big deal.”

This year’s team is now only three wins away from capturing the school’s second state title and a perfect season.

Kodiak enters the 4A state tournament, which begins on March 20 in Anchorage, as the state’s last remaining 4A undefeated team with a 24-0 record. Previously undefeated West Anchorage lost to East Anchorage, 35-34, in Saturday’s Cook Inlet Conference championship game.

Kodiak fans packed the Colony gymnasium and voiced their appreciation for the team when the final buzzer sounded. This is the first time since Soldotna beat Kenai in 1993 that a Mat-Su Valley team did not cut down the nets.

“It just makes the kids feel good that they have a ton of support,” Fogle said. “People love watching them play. Just hearing the noise, it makes it seem a little more like home when you are traveling.”

Kodiak had to come from behind Saturday, just like it did in Friday’s 55-47 semifinal win over Wasilla. The Bears faced a nine-point, second-half deficit — their largest of the season — against Wasilla and trailed Colony by eight points in the first half.

Third-seeded Colony led 17-9 after the first quarter and was up 21-13 midway through the second.

“Colony hit everything in the first quarter and a half, and we weren’t really hitting our shots and weren’t really playing our game,” Fogle said.

Kodiak exploded after that. The Bears started running the floor and shots started to fall.

Sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from Jerica Nelson and Adriane Horn, Kodiak rattled off the next 17 points to take control of the game.

“All season we have been able to score lots of points and do some great things defensively, and I think once we got on a roll, it was just hard to stop us,” Fogle said. “The kids really wanted it bad and went out and did it.”

Hannah Wandersee scored 10 of her game-high 25 points during the second quarter, while Horn ended with four 3-pointers, 13 points and six steals. Horn’s third trey of the game gave Kodiak the lead for good at 24-21.

“The kids in the locker room were so excited for her. They were talking in the locker room how awesome she played,” Fogle said. “She has been strong for us all season, so it was exciting to see.”

Carissa Cannon added 10 points, while Nelson had eight assists and seven points. Megan Pyles chipped in 11 rebounds.

Kodiak opened the third with seven straight points for a 37-23 cushion.

The Bears led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter.

Despite the loss, Colony grabbed the conference’s other automatic berth to the state tournament. Soldotna, which placed fourth, earned an at-large bid.

Friday

The Bears rallied from a nine-point deficit to earn a 55-47 win over Wasilla in a semifinal game Friday.

Kodiak trailed 33-24 at the 5:21 mark in the third quarter.

The Bears trimmed the deficit to 40-35 to begin the fourth.

Wandersee took over from there, scoring eight of her game-high 17 points in the first three minutes of the fourth that gave Kodiak a 43-40 lead.

The Bears never trailed after that, outscoring the Warriors 20-7 in the fourth.

Nelson added 13 points, seven steals and four assists. Pyles scored eight points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Wandersee added eight rebounds.

“We just had a great weekend,” Fogle said. “There was a little bit of adversity as far as these games and they responded really, really well.”

Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiakdailymirror.com.

Saturday

Championship game

BEARS 64, KNIGHTS 43

Kodiak 9 21 16 18 — 64

Colony 17 6 10 10 — 43

Kodiak (64) — Horn 4 1-2 13, Nelson 3 0-0 7, Fabricante 0 0-0 0, Cannon 3 3-5 10, Catt 1 0-0 2, Hiner 0 0-0 0, Pyles 1 3-6 5, Wandersee 10 5-5 25. Totals: 22 12-18 64.

Colony (43) — Farris 5 4-6 15, Tweed 2 0-0 5, Stephens 3 0-0 6, Clark 0 0-0 0, Turcotte 1 2-2 4, Brumbaugh 0 0-0 0, Solano 5 2-2 13, Bonn 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 8-10 43.

3-point goals: Kodiak 6 (Horn 4, Nelson 1, Cannon 1), Colony 3 (Farris 1, Tweed 1, Solano 1). Team fouls: Kodiak 11, Colony 16. Fouled out — Turcotte.

Friday

Semifinal

BEARS 55, WARRIORS 47

Wasilla 10 16 14 7 — 47

Kodiak 12 8 15 20 — 55

Wasilla (47) — Kelly 0 3-4 3, Johnson 3 1-2 7, Baham 3 0-0 6, Toews 4 2-6 11, Hutchins 4 2-2 12, Dinkel 1 0-0 2, Edwards 3 0-1 6. Totals: 18 8-15.

Kodiak (55) — Horn 3 0-0 9, Nelson 5 2-2 13, Cannon 2 3-6 7, Catt 0 1-2 1, Hiner 0 0-0 0, Pyles 3 2-4 8, Wandersee 7 3-4 17. Totals: 20 11-18 55.

3-point field goals: Wasilla 3 (Hutchins 2, Toews 1); Kodiak 4 (Horn 3, Nelson 1). Team fouls: Wasilla 17, Kodiak 14. Fouled out — Hutchins.

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