Daily Sitka Sentinel

Lady Wolves Dispatch Craig on Way to Regionals

    The Sitka High Lady Wolves can win even when things aren’t quite clicking.
    That’s the kind of season it has been for a deep and talented squad that is now 19-3 overall and 10-0 in the 3A Southeast Conference.
    The Lady Wolves dispatched Craig 61-34 Friday night, taking over the game for good in the second quarter as the large crowd on hand for “Keet Kids Night” enjoyed the dominating performance.
    But Saturday’s game was a grind. The SHS girls turned the ball over 21 times and were unable to find their stride offensively against the defending 3A Southeast champs.
    Still, Craig never got the Sitka lead under 6 points in the second half and the Lady Wolves took a 41-31 win.
    “It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was still a win,” SHS coach Rich Krupa said. “We did what we needed do.”
    The Lady Wolves have big things on their mind as the 2012 postseason approaches and now find themselves one win away from wrapping up the Southeast regular season title. Mt. Edgecumbe is sitting at 8-2 in the conference as the crosstown rivals get set for a home-and-home series this weekend.
    “I think they want that number one seed, that’s one of our goals,” Krupa said.
    The Lady Braves, after two big wins over Haines, are still alive to win the regular season title. But they’ll need two straight wins over a Sitka team that has dominated the region and lost only one game to a 3A school this season.
    “We’re looking forward to these games,” Krupa said. “It’s been a good season for us, the girls are playing really hard.”
    The Lady Wolves never trailed in Saturday’s game. They jumped out to a 9-4 lead  on a three by Kelsi Kubkik and led by 5 points five different times in the first half. The Lady Wolves finally pushed the lead to 7 on a bucket by Sidney Riggs with about 3 seconds to go in the half. Riggs used her wheels to track down a long pass from Kubik and scored to put Sitka up 21-14. Kate Dinon responded by banking in a last-second heave from half court that would have cut the Sitka lead to 4. It was close, but the shot was waved off by the officials despite protests from the Craig players.
    Sitka opened the third quarter with 7 straight points as the Lady Wolves threatened to put the game away. Hunter Huddlestun started the scoring and a three-point play by Sariah Ady put Sitka up 26-14. Karly Fuller added to the tally with a bucket of her own, but Melissa Castle nailed back-to-back threes to pull Craig back within 8 at 28-20. Huddlestun ended the quarter with a bucket for Sitka and the Lady Wolves entered the fourth up 30-20. Craig got within 6 at 32-26, but a basket on the baseline by Ady and a three by Riggs with 2:30 to play put the Sitka lead back into double digits and stymied the comeback try by the Lady Panthers.
    Castle led Craig with a game-high 16 points and 7 rebounds. Maggie Dinon had 6 points and Kate Dinon had 4. Sitka got balanced scoring. Ady had 9 points and 12 boards, while Riggs scored 9 of her own. Katina Wathen, Kubik and Fuller each had 5, Huddlestun got 4 and Megan Reid and Kendall Phippen had 2 each.
    The game Saturday was a good indication of what makes the Lady Wolves so tough: their depth.
    Craig is an athletic and scrappy team that applies pressure defensively and looks to run, similar to the style employed by SHS.
    In Castle, Craig has a top-notch scorer and the Dinon sisters, both sophomores, are talented. But Craig’s bench is thin, with only five players scoring Saturday.
    Krupa has nine good players and there’s not much drop off up and down Sitka’s lineup. Sitka’s offensive game wasn’t firing on all cylinders Saturday and while Craig managed to hang around, the Lady Wolves got buckets when they needed them and kept up enough defensive pressure to avoid an upset.
    Ady had 14 points and 11 boards for Sitka Friday, while Fuller scored 14 of her own. Reid added 9 points, Huddlestun scored 8, Wathen had 7, Riggs got 5 and Phippen and Sophie Mudry had 2 each.
    Castle and Maggie Dinon both had 11 for Craig in the game.
    Krupa said that more than 160 elementary school students turned out for Keet Kids Night Friday. The annual game has become an anticipated event on the Lady Wolves’ schedule, typically drawing a large crowd to SHS.
    All that remains for SHS in the regular season are the two games this weekend against MEHS. The game Friday is at SHS, with the action moving to Japonski Island for Saturday’s game. The Lady Braves and Lady Wolves have played a home-and-home series ever since SHS joined the 3A conference before the 2008-09 season.

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