Nikiski's Hallie Riddall (2), Emily Lynch (22) and Chena Litzen defend Mt. Edgecumbe's Taryn White during their 3A girls state basketball game on Thursday at Anchorage's Sullivan Arena.

Nikiski's Hallie Riddall (2), Emily Lynch (22) and Chena Litzen defend Mt. Edgecumbe's Taryn White during their 3A girls state basketball game on Thursday at Anchorage's Sullivan Arena.

Mt. Edgecumbe gets upper hand on Nikiski

The Nikiski girls hoops team fell short on the first day of the Class 3A state tournament at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, losing to Mt. Edgecumbe 49-39.

The loss drops the Bulldogs into the 3A consolation bracket with an 8 a.m. Friday matchup with Valdez.

“Our girls played really hard and really fought, but when the other team’s shooting the ball that well, it’s hard to catch up,” said Nikiski coach Scott Anderson.

Junior Rachel Thompson came up big for the Bulldogs with 21 points, while senior Alyssa Darch added eight points and took down seven rebounds.

After trailing 12-4 early in the second quarter, Nikiski began to find its feet, getting buckets and successful free-throw attempts from Thompson, Darch and Emily Lynch. With 2 minutes, 21 seconds, left in the first half, Nikiski had cut the deficit to 16-13.

“We got off to a slow start, and I think some of our girls had that deer-in-the-headlights look,” Anderson said. “It’s a new experience for them, and we just came down a little slow, and we could never get our traction after that.”

Trailing 23-13 at halftime, the Bulldogs fought back by outscoring the Braves 13-10 in the third quarter.

After a back-and-forth fourth quarter, two free throws from Hallie Riddall cut the gap to 42-37 with 1:17 left.

However, after that, Taryn White and Renata Olson put the game out of reach with seven free throws.

Olson led Mt. Edgecumbe with 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting. White, one of the Braves’ top threats, had 12 points and grabbed seven boards.

“I think they were so focused on my inside post (White) that the guards could be more relaxed and take the shots,” said Edgecumbe coach Dane Vincent. “They were so focused on Taryn that it opened it up for the rest of them.”

Anderson agreed with Vincent, saying while his team did a good job stopping White, it ultimately cost the Bulldogs.

“A couple of other girls stepped up and played well for them,” Anderson said. “I fully expect them to go pretty far in this tournament.”

Nikiski also suffered from poor shooting with an 18 percent mark in the first half and hitting 27 percent overall. Additionally, Nikiski was 2 for 14 from beyond the arc.

Thursday girls

Braves 49, Bulldogs 39

Mt. Edgecumbe 10 13 10 16 —49

Nikiski 4 9 13 13 —39

MT. EDGECUMBE (49) — Ripke 0 0-0 0, Olson 7 2-2 18, Johnson 2 2-2 7, Akaran 2 1-2 5, Amaktoolik 0 0-1 0, White 2 8-9 12, Holly 0 0-0 0, Thomas 0 1-1 1, Mute 0 0-0 0, Weisz 3 0-0 6. Totals 16 14-17 49.

NIKISKI (39) — Riddall 0 2-2 2, Cook 0 0-0 0, Costello 0 1-2 1, Litke 0 0-0 0, Lynch 3 1-4 7, Thompson 6 7-9 21, Parrish 0 0-0 0, Kornstad 0 0-0 0, Litzen 0 0-0 0, Darch 4 0-0 8. Totals 13 11-17 39.

3-point field goals — Mt. Edgecumbe 3 (Olson 2, Johnson 1); Nikiski 2 (Thompson 2).

Team fouls — Mt. Edgecume 19; Nikiski 13.

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