Unalaska Boys' Basketball Heads for States

Monday, March 09 2015

The Unalaska Raiders boys’ basketball team is heading for March Madness in Anchorage next week.

The boys clinched a spot in the state 2A championship with big wins at regionals last weekend.

Coach Kent Russell says they beat Bristol Bay twice, both times by at least a 20-point margin. The Raiders lost to top-ranked Dillingham, 41-36, in the regional championship game -- but they’re both still going to the state tournament.

"We really battled, and we were in the game the whole until, like, 30 seconds left," Russell says. "We’re putting in plans in case we see [Dillingham] down the road at state."

The boys will have to make it through a couple of other match-ups first. Their first game is next Monday afternoon against Chevak. Russell says Unalaska hasn’t played the Comets this season -- so while the boys practice this week, he’s doing a little research.

"What I’ve heard is they can score, they can shoot and they run," he says. "I know a lot of coaches around the state, so I look at who they’ve played and I started making some phone calls."

If Unalaska beats Chevak, they’ll play the winner of Glenallen vs. Wrangell on Tuesday, March 17. After that, they could see Dillingham in the championship at the Alaska Airlines Center the next day.

But their first game will be at Sullivan Arena. The college-sized court is bigger than Unalaska is used to, but Russell says that will "play to their style."

"We’re typically bigger than the teams we play, or longer," he says. "So teams that press us --it’s harder for teams that press at state, because the court’s bigger. So the teams breaking the press can spread the floor easier."

Meanwhile, it’s the end of the road for Unalaska’s Lady Raiders: The girls beat Togiak handily at regionals, but couldn't top rival Dillingham in a pair of close contests. 

"It was like a war out there," says Russell. "Our girls deserve to go to state just as much as Dillingham – Dillingham just happened to get a few more buckets to go in and a few more breaks in the game. It was a heartbreaker."

The boys will fly out for Anchorage this weekend, weather permitting.

Check out the full 2A championship bracket here, and tune in to KUCB 89.7 FM during the tournament to catch the Raiders' championship games live, starting at 3:30 p.m. next Monday.  

News Community About Site by Joseph Redmon