Amy Fogle doesn’t get nostalgic very often.
But when the topic of the 2001 Kodiak High School boys basketball undefeated season comes up, even she cracks a smile.
More than a decade after coaching the boys to an undefeated season, she has the Kodiak girls basketball team five games away from a perfect season.
Don’t tell her that; she takes things one day at a time.
“Sometimes I wish I was one of those people that was nostalgic … but I’m worried about today’s practice and what we are going to do today,” Fogle said, Tuesday afternoon at KHS. “You can control what you can control, and what we can control is what happens on a daily basis.”
Fogle gets a reminder of the 2001 season everyday.
This season Fogle has reunited with Nick Billings, a star 7-foot center on the 2001 team that went 28-0, on the Kodiak sideline.
Fogle is the head coach, while Billings is an assistant.
“She still scares the crap out of me,” Billings said. “It is always going to be that way. She is always going to be my head coach.”
The reunion has been magical as Kodiak enters today’s Northern Lights Conference Championship semifinal game undefeated.
Fogle said she never imagined Billings being on her staff, but has enjoyed every minute.
“He wasn’t highly motivated in high school, but playing 10 years of college basketball and pro ball has made him well-schooled in basketball and post moves and what you need to do to get better as a post player,” Fogle said.
Billings also never thought he would become a coach, but after hurting his knee playing professional basketball overseas he came back to the island and found a spot on the girls coaching staff.
“It has been a real blessing to be able to come back and work with her and work with the girls,” he said.
Fogle has showed this year’s team footage of the boys’ 2001 Northern Lights Conference championship game against Palmer and portions of the state championship battle against East Anchorage.
Against Palmer, Kodiak trailed by 11 points in the first quarter, but clawed back to win the conference crown — the school’s last NLC title in either the boys or girls programs.
“The point of that was to show them that we never put our heads down. We just gritted it out and kept fighting,” Billings said. “Everything we show them, we gear it towards what they are going through.”
Fogle said it was important for the girls to see how that team didn’t give up, even when things weren’t going their way.
“We have gone through stages that if we don’t make shots, we get frustrated,” she said. “We think the game is lost because we can’t put a few shots in the hole.”
That hasn’t happened much this season.
Top-seeded Kodiak enters today’s 1:15 p.m. semifinal game against fourth-seeded Wasilla with a 22-0 record — 21 victories have been by more than 10 points.
The Warriors beat Palmer, 45-37, in Thursday’s opening round and last Saturday was within four points of Kodiak in the fourth quarter before losing by 16 points.
“It is going to be the third time we play them in six days — that is a stress,” Fogle said. “It is hard to beat any team three times.”
A Kodiak wins sends the Bears to the 4A state tournament and the NLC Championship game for the second consecutive season. The title game is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Colony High School.
“I just hope the ride continues,” Billings said.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.