Daily Sitka Sentinel
ANCHORAGE – For the fourth straight year, the Sitka High Lady Wolves will face the Anchorage Christian School Lady Lions at the 3A state tournament. This is Sitka’s fourth season as a 3A school and the Lady Wolves can’t seem to make the trip to Sullivan Arena without facing ACS.
“We’re excited that we’re in the semfinals, that was a big win for us” Krupa said, referring to Sitka’s double overtime victory over top-ranked Barrow in the first round Thursday. “It will be a good match-up to play ACS again.”
ACS, the second seed from the Southcentral Conference, knocked off Hutchison 48-35 Thursday to book a trip to the semifinals this afternoon. ACS trailed the game 20-18 at the half, but surged to a victory that set up the third semifinals meeting with Sitka in four seasons. Sitka dropped games in the semifinals to ACS in 2009 and 2010, then beat the Lady Lions in the first round at state last year. Sitka made it two in a row against ACS with a 55-41 win at the Whaler Invitational in Barrow last month.
ACS is led by sophomore Dallas Dickerson, one of the state’s best young players. The Anchorage Daily News said today that Dickerson averaged 14 points a game this season, in addition to 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals. Dickerson played well in Sitka’s first-round 44-39 state victory over ACS in 2011, scoring 16 points. Another thing the Daily News reported today? Dickerson grew five inches between her freshman and sophomore years.
Krupa said the Lady Wolves would look to play up-tempo against ACS, a strategy that worked during the February game in Barrow.
The Lady Wolves were set to tip off with the Lady Lions at 3:15 p.m. this afternoon, after the Sentinel went to press. (See sitkasentinel.com later this evening for a game recap).
It will be the second straight game for the Lady Wolves against one of the state’s top 3A programs. The Lady Wolves beat top-ranked Barrow, the defending state champions, 57-52 in double overtime Thursday. Both Barrow and ACS were upset in their regional tournaments, setting up a gauntlet on the Lady Wolves’ side of the state bracket.
With about 2:30 left in the game Thursday, the Lady Wolves were in trouble. They trailed 45-38 and had managed just one point in the fourth quarter. But then came the rally. Megan Reid made two free throws and a bucket by freshman Sidney Riggs cut the Barrow lead to three at 45-42 with 1:33 left on the clock. After Barrow missed the front end of a one-and-one from the free throw line and Katina Wathen tied the game with a three that left the score 45-45 with 55 seconds left.
A Barrow turnover gave the ball back to Sitka and senior Hunter Huddlestun was fouled with 9 seconds left. Huddlestun missed a pair from the line, but Barrow couldn’t capitalize and the game went to overtime with the score tied 45-45. Neither team was able to break away in the final frame and Sitka had the ball back in the front court with 10 seconds left.
On the inbounds play, Barrow had a defensive breakdown and Reid was left wide open in the lane. Wathen threw the ball in and Reid scored to put Sitka up 51-49. There were 7 seconds left and a timeout, Barrow had one last possession. It seemed like the Lady Whalers were going to throw the ball inside to their all-state center Lynette Hepa and they did. But Sariah Ady tipped the ball away, giving Barrow the ball on the baseline with 2 seconds left. This time, they went to Hepa again and she calmly scored off the glass as the buzzer sounded to send the game to double overtime.
With Barrow starter Dana Chrestman having fouled out in the first extra period, the Lady Whalers took another blow 30 seconds into the second overtime as Hillary Lowery, their top guard, picked up her fifth foul. The Lady Wolves held Barrow to a single point in the second overtime and did enough to win 57-52. With 10 seconds left and Sitka leading 55-52, the Lady Wolves missed two more free throws, but Riggs grabbed a rebound that closed out the game.
Riggs had 18 points and 8 rebounds in the game, her first at the state tournament.
“She’s playing like she has all year,” Krupa said of the freshman guard. “She did a lot of positive things.”
Reid ended up with 13 points and 8 boards, Wathen scored 10 points and had 4 assists and Sariah Ady scored 7 points and grabbed 14 boards.
The Lady Wolves did not shoot well in the game, going 14-49 from the field, for 28.6 percent. And they were 25-51 from the foul line. But they outrebounded Barrow 45 to 33 and turned the ball over only 13 times, compared to 23 for the Lady Whalers.
Lowery led Barrow with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Hepa had 15 points, 13 boards and 9 blocked shots, narrowly missing a triple-double.