Seldovia boys lose; Nikolaevsk boys win

The magic run the Seldovia boys were on at the Class 1A state hoops tournament came to an end Tuesday at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

The Sea Otters lost 42-37 to Toksook Bay and dropped into the tournament’s third-place game against Shaktoolik at 9:40 a.m. today at the Sullivan.

Seldovia equaled the mark they set at the Class 2A state tournament by competing in the semifinal round, and were hoping to make school history by playing for a state championship.

Seldovia coach Mark Janes said the things that cost them the most — namely turnovers and offensive rebounds — could be attributed to a team that is still young, as there are no seniors on the squad.

“My kids are still pretty young and (Toksook) plays a different style of ball,” Janes said. “It’s in your face and your grill and it’s coming at you. They have more kids on their bench with more endurance, so you got to be prepared.”

Seldovia rarely could find a consistent offensive rhythm Tuesday night, and when the team did, it was equalized by Toksook’s offense.

Seldovia spilled the ball twice as many times as Toksook, losing 24 turnovers compared to 12 for the Islanders, and gave up 23 offensive rebounds. 23 of Toksook’s 37 total boards were on the offensive glass.

“That’s what we won with against Yakutat, and that’s what we didn’t do today,” Janes said. “That’s what it comes down to.”

Seldovia sophomore Aiden Philpot scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double — his third of the tournament — and junior Seth O’Leary grabbed another 10 boards. Junior Calem Collier added nine points, but suffered a poor shooting night (3 for 12 on field goals).

“They’re kind of our backbone,” Janes said. “They kind of trade off the role of leading the team, so they got to keep playing together. They’ll get it, and it’ll be fun to watch in the coming years.”

Seldovia held an early 7-5 advantage midway through the first quarter, and in a defensive matchup, the teams were tied 9-9 after one quarter.

Toksook held Seldovia to a single bucket in the second quarter, which the Islanders used to take a 17-11 lead into halftime.

Toksook also attempted twice as many shots as Seldovia did in the first half, hitting eight of 34. Seldovia hit four of 17.

The Sea Otters fought back in the third quarter with eight points by Philpot that helped Seldovia retake a 23-21 lead with 2:46 left in the frame.

However, Seldovia found it increasingly difficult to slow down the Islanders’ Matthew Pitka, who ended up with 20 points. Pitka accounted for half of Toksook’s shots with 22 field goal attempts.

“I’ve got a young team,” said Toksook Bay coach Simeon Lincoln.

Pitka is the lone senior on the team. Lincoln said he was concerned about the fouls his team had late in the game. Both Isaiah Pitka and Byron Nicholai had four fouls at the end.

“If you can take the clock down to less than 10 seconds, I told them you have 10 seconds to take the ball out, so I told them take your time,” Lincoln said. “This is a good motivator for tomorrow’s game, and I’m sure the other boys are going to want to step up and get some recognition too.”

In the fourth quarter, Seldovia got as close as four points behind Toksook Bay, but could not quite bridge that gap. Collier sliced up for a layup with 3:02 left that closed Seldovia to 37-33, but John Chakuchin dropped in a layup of his own with 1:41 left that drew the foul, and he converted on the three-point play to put the Islanders up 40-33.

O’Leary managed a basket with 57 seconds left, but a steal on Seldovia’s next possession complicated the chances of a comeback.

After Chakuchin failed on two free-throw attempts, Philpot attempted two freebies on the other end of the court with 10 seconds left, hitting them both. That closed the deficit to 40-37, a one-possession game.

Ultimately, Seldovia fouled Pitka on the ensuing possession and Pitka iced the game with two free throws of his own.

Janes said he holds confidence that his team will be back next year.

“At the end of last season, I saw Klawock in the finals, and thought that was what we’re going to come up against,” Janes said. “We didn’t quite get there this year.”

Nikolaevsk boys 64, St. Mary’s 52

The Nikolaevsk boys team joined their girls squad in the Class 1A consolation bracket championship games by routing St. Mary’s on Tuesday at West High School.

Jaruby Nelson led Nikolaevsk with 22 points, half of that coming in the first quarter. Neil Gordeev added 12 points, eight in the second quarter.

The score was closer than the game shook out, as the Warriors led 21-8 after one quarter and 33-15 at halftime.

Nikolaevsk really pushed its lead out in the third quarter by outscoring the Eagles 25-15, starting with a 16-3 run that pushed the lead to 49-18 with 2:34 left in the quarter.

“After losing in the first round, we had a goal of going 3-0 for the rest of the tournament,” said Nikolaevsk coach Steve Klaich. “We’ve got two down and one to go.”

Rebounds and steals dictated Nikolaevsk’s offensive game in the second half, and Klaich said he was pleased with what he saw.

“The kids played hard, the subs played, which let them close the gap a little bit,” Klaich said. “But it was good to see the other kids get some time.”

Interestingly, the Nikolaevsk boys and girls teams will be competing at the same time on adjacent courts on Wednesday, with only a large curtain dividing the consolation championship games at the Sullivan Arena.

Typically, Steve Klaich will sit on the bench as an assistant coach for his wife Bea Klaich’s games, and Bea will subsequently sit as an assistant for the boy’s games.

Obviously, there will be none of that on Wednesday.

“My daughter’s playing and my wife’s coaching, and I’ll be on the other end,” Steve said. “It’s great that we’re both playing tomorrow at the Sullivan. Maybe we can talk them into raising the curtain.”

Tuesday boys

Islanders 42, Sea Otters 37

Toksook Bay 9 8 13 12 —42

Seldovia 9 2 14 12 —37

TOKSOOK BAY (42) — Chanar 0 0-0 0, Nicholai 1 0-0 2, Lincoln 0 0-0 0, M. Pitka 8 4-6 20, Chakuchin 4 2-3 10, Felix 0 0-2 0, I. Pitka 3 0-0 7, Sipary 1 0-0 3. Totals 17 6-11 42.

SELDOVIA (37) — R. Waterbury 0 0-0 0, Sidibe 0 0-0 0, D. Waterbury 3 0-0 6, Collier 3 2-2 9, Haller 1 0-2 2, Philpot 5 4-4 15, O’Leary 1 3-5 5. Totals 13 9-13 37.

3-point field goals — Toksook Bay 2 (I. Pitka 1, Sipary 1); Seldovia 2 (Collier 1, Philpot 1).

Team fouls — Toksook Bay 16; Seldovia 11.

Warriors 64, Eagles 52

Nikolaevsk 21 12 25 6 —64

St. Mary’s 8 7 15 22 —52

NIKOLAEVSK (64) — Molodih 0 0-0 0, Nelson 9 1-1 22, Trail 1 0-0 2, Yakunin 4 0-0 8, N. Fefelov 2 0-0 4, Gordeev 4 4-6 12, F. Molodih 3 1-2 7, J. Fefelov 4 1-2 9. Totals 27 7-11 64.

ST. MARY’S (52) — I. Beans 9 0-0 20, Evan 0 0-2 0, Paukan 0 1-2 1, Kelly 1 0-0 2, Alstrom 2 1-2 6, Hess 0 0-0 0, Edwards 0 0-0 0, Hart 2 1-1 5, Tinker 6 0-1 14, J. Beans 0 0-0 0, Andrews 2 0-0 4, R. Paukan 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 3-8 52.

3-point field goals — Nikolaevsk 3 (Nelson 3); St. Mary’s 5 (Beans 2, Tinker 2, Alstrom 1).

Team fouls — Nikolaevsk 8; St. Mary’s 12.

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