by Tommy Wells
The Akiak Thunderbolts girls team might play in rural Alaska, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t turning heads on the statewide scene.
Akiak made its debut in the Class 1A rankings this past week, checking in at No. 5 in the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches’ poll. The Thunderbolts were the only Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta squad making the rankings.
Defending Class 1A state champion King Cove was the top-rated team in the girls’ rankings. The Rookies tip off their season this weekend.
Nikolaevsk was ranked second, just ahead of Klawock and Tanalian.
Anaktuvuk Pass was the boys’ No. 1 squad.
The Point Hope High School Harpooners, the defending Class 2A state champion, topped the boys’ 2A state rankings. The Harpooners are off to a 4-1 start this season, with their lone loss coming to Anchorage Christian in the first round of the 2020 ASC Denali Auto Glass/Pepsi Invitational tournament last week.
Akiak, King Cove and Anaktuvuk Pass weren’t the only rural teams turning heads on the court. The Barrow Whalers, fresh off winning the ACS tournament, stepped in at No. 3 in the 3A boys’ rankings. The Lady Whalers were second in the girls’ poll.
The following is the latest Alaska Association Basketball Coaches’ prep poll.
Class 4A: Colony, Dimond, Soldotna, East, West Valley
Class 3A: Monroe Catholic, Grace Christian, Barrow, Anchorage Christian, Valdez
Class 2A: Point Hope, Haines, Cordova, Petersburg
Class 1A: Anaktuvuk Pass, Lumen Christi, Tanalian, Kobuk, Birchwood Christian
Class 4A: Colony, Juneau-Douglas, Bartlett, West Valley, Chugiak
Class 3A: Anchorage Christian, Barrow, Galena, Monroe Catholic, Mt. Edgecumbe
Class 2A: No poll available
Class 1A: 1. King Cove, 2. Nikolaevsk, 3. Klawock, 4. Tanalian, 5. Akiak