Raiders Take Third at State 2A Basketball Tournament

Friday, March 20 2015

The Raiders cool down after their last practice before states. (Annie Ropeik/KUCB)

It’s the end of a historic season for the Unalaska Raiders boys’ basketball team. They took third place in their return to the state 2A tournament, almost 20 years after their last run.

The boys won two of their three games at states, first against Chevak on Monday, 59-31.

They lost to Glenallen in the second round on Tuesday. Coach Kent Russell says it was a close, defensive game, with a final score of just 28-21.

"Both teams were equally deserving to win, but at the end ... we had really good looks at the basket, and some of them just didn’t go in," he says. 

But the team didn’t let the loss faze them. They had less than 12 hours to get ready for the third-place game, which would be against Unalakleet.

"You have to be able to be mentally strong enough to put that loss behind you and get focused on the next game, and our boys were really good at that," Russell says. "We came out and we talked about how the first four minutes of the third-place game was going to be important, and we came out ready to go and we kind of caught Unalakleet off guard a little bit."

The Raiders came through to beat Unalakleet 58-47. Meanwhile, Glenallen went on to beat Dillingham for their second 2A title running.

Now, Unalaska's team is back at school, and getting set to be just as competitive next year. Russell says they’re also preparing to say goodbye to their graduating class.

"The biggest thing we’ll lose from our seniors is their character -- they’re a great group of kids and academically they’re some of the highest-achieving in their class," Russell says. "They’re more quiet leader types that lead with their behavior and their actions … So it’ll be interesting to see how next year’s group develops and the chemistry develops."

This year’s seniors include Michael Remolino, JR Carpentero, Vincent Naanos, Kevin Schomer, JM Carpentero, Josh Fernandez and Ken Balbarino.

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