by Tommy Wells
The Toksook Bay High School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are back on top of the Class 1A world. Well, at least, the Coastal Conference world that is.
The Toksook Bay teams turned in outstanding efforts this past weekend and rolled to their respective championships on Saturday in front of a large crowd in the Bethel Regional High School WarriorDome. By winning the 29th Annual Coastal Conference titles, the Islanders and Lady Islanders both punched their way to the Class 1A state basketball tournaments which are slated to tip off this week in Anchorage.
Toksook Bay rode the hot hand of Isaiah Pitka and Mykell White to a 53-45 victory over the Chefornak Shaman in the boys’ championship. Pitka scored a game-high 22 points in the frame, while White added 10 more.
Chefornak, sparked by three three-pointers, exploded out of the gate. Dennis Abraham knocked down two treys and scored eight of his team-high 13 points in the opening period and led the Shaman to a 15-14 lead.
Joe Panruk also pushed in a three-pointer in the first.
Toksook Bay came storming back in the second. White, Pitka and Johnny Bosco combined for 10 points in the second and powered the Islanders to a 10-4 second-period run, and a 24-19 halftime advantage.
Pitka took complete control in the third. He poured in eight points in the frame and spearheaded a 14-6 spree that blew the game open for Toksook Bay. The Islanders took a comfortable 13-point cushion, at 38-25, into the final eight minutes of action.
Jason Therchik, Preston Therchik and White also added points to the Toksook Bay third-quarter run.
Chefornak rallied back in the fourth. The Shaman got nine points from Garret Kairaiuak and six more from Wally Flynn en route to a 20-15 surge that cut the Islanders’ lead to eight, at 53-45, at the final buzzer.
Kairaiuak and Panruk both finished the contest with nine points for Chefornak. Flynn added eight, while Jackie Wassillie chipped in six.
Preston Therchik was the Islanders’ third-leading scorer with seven points. Jason Therchik added six, while Mark Pitka added four. Bosco and Byron Nicholai tallied two apiece.
The Islanders advanced to the finals of the tournament with relative ease. They defeated Atmautlak by a 77-50 win in the opening road. Following that, the edged past Napaskiak, 87-66, in the semifinals on Friday.
The Kipnuk Falcons finished fourth in the final team standings. The Falcons defeated Quinhagak, 60-34, in the boys’ consolation finals.
In the girls’ championship game, the Lady Islanders garnered 18 points from Daphne Sipary and rolled to a 39-29 victory over Chefornak.
Overall, Toksook Bay collected points from eight different players in the game, including six from Ruth Chakuchin and five from Josephine Chakuchin. Priscilla Julius tallied four, while Justina Charles, Crystal Lincoln and Lisa Evans all added two.
Robyn Erik paced Chefornak with 13. She tallied eight of her total points in the fourth quarter.
Theresa Mathew also posted a double-digit effort for the Lady Shaman by netting 10, six of which came in the fourth period.
Danielle Agnus, Amber Kairaiuak and Desiree Therchik chipped in two.
Toksook Bay, which went 3-0 in the tournament, opened its title quest with a win over Nunapitchuk. They defeated Kipnuk in the semifinals.
Chefornak, which upended Tuntutuliak in its opening-round bout, earned its way into the finals with a win over Kasigluk-Akiuk in the semifinals on Friday.
The Newtok Lady Jaegers netted the girls’ consolation title with a victory over Tuntutuliak.