by Tommy Wells
Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta basketball fans will have plenty of action to keep themselves occupied over the next two weeks as the 2018 Class 1A/2A and Class 3A/4A state tournaments get underway at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
The state’s Class 1A and Class 2A programs will begin their quests for state titles on March 14. The Class 3A/4A tournaments will begin March 22.
The Scammon Bay Lady Eagles will be among the bigger teams to keep an eye on for YK Delta fans. The Lady Eagles are seeking their third straight Class 1A state title.
Scammon Bay, which enters the tournament as the top seed in the girls’ bracket, finished the regular season at 21-2 for the season and ranked No. 1 in the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches’ poll.
Scammon Bay will begin defense of its state title at 5 p.m. when they face off with New Stuyahok.
Another YK Delta power that will bear watching in the Aniak Lady Halfbreeds. The team heads into its first-round matchup with Hydaburg sporting an 18-5 record.
Don’t be fooled by Aniak’s number of losses. The Lady Halfbreeds played one of the tougher scheduled in the state. A majority of the losses have come against larger opponents, including Class 3A Kotzebue and Mt. Edgecumbe and Class 4A Bartlett.
Aniak and Hydaburg are scheduled to play at 11 a.m.
The Toksook Bay Islanders will also be making an appearance at the state tournament. The Alaska Coastal Conference powerhouse will face off against second-ranked King Cove in the first round, beginning at 5 p.m.
On the boys’ side, Kipnuk, Aniak and Scammon Bay will all be making trips to the state tournament. Kipnuk will face off with Tanana at 8 a.m. in the first round. Tanana, which boasts a 6-foot-5 center, comes in as the No. 4 seed with a 22-2 record.
Aniak will play Shishmaref in its first-round game, starting at 12:30 p.m., while Scammon Bay will face off with King Cove, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Bethel Regional High School fans will also have plenty to keep them busy. The BRHS boys’ and girls’ teams both qualified for the Class 3A state tournament by finishing second at the Western Conference tournament this past weekend.
The Warriors boys garnered the No. 8 seed in the state bracket and will face off with top-ranked Monroe Catholic on March 22, beginning at 11 a.m.
Barrow, the defending Western Conference champion, will face Valdez in its first-round matchup, starting at 6:30 p.m.
In the girls’ bracket, Western Conference fans will have three teams to cheer for, including the BRHS girls. The Lady Warriors will open their state tournament appearance with a first-round matchup against Valdez. The game will tip off at 8 a.m. on March 22.
Barrow, the girls’ conference champion, will open against Nikiski, starting at 5 p.m.
The Kotzebue Lady Huskies garnered an at-large bid to the state tournament. They will face off with top-ranked Anchorage Christian at 3:30 p.m.