by Tommy Wells
Even though the Bethel Regional High School teams won’t be competing in the Class 3A state basketball tournament, there won’t be a shortage of talented squads attempting to bring state titles home to the of Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
In all, nine teams from the region will be participating in the Class 1A and Class 2A state tournaments when they get under way on March 13. The small-school tournament will run through March 16, while the Class 3A and Class 4A tournament will be held March 21-23.
The Y-K Delta will have four teams competing in the boys’ 16-team tournament, which will begin on Wednesday. Making the field are Kipnuk, Aniak, Emmonak and Kotlik.
Kipnuk, which won the recent Coastal Conference title, will open their title quest at 1:30 p.m. with a first-round matchup against the Shishmaref Northern Lights, while Aniak will face off against fourth-seeded Noorvik at 3:30 p.m.
Emmonak will face the toughest test of any Y-K Delta team in the first round. They will open play against top-seeded King Cove at 5 p.m.
King Cove enters the tournament at 21-3, with all three of their losses coming to larger programs. Two of the T-Jacks’ losses came to Class 2A top seed Unalaska.
Kotlik will open the tournament with a showdown against Anaktuvuk Pass, starting at 6:30 p.m.
On the girls’ side, Russian Mission, St. Mary’s and Aniak will all be in action on Wednesday. Russian Mission will face off with Klawock, the No.-2 seed, at 9:30 a.m. St. Mary’s will face off at Shishmaref at 11 a.m., while Aniak will meet Buckland at 8 p.m.
Aniak is the defending Class 1A girls’ state champion.
The Scammon Bay girls and Hooper Bay boys will begin their state tournament appearances on Thursday in the Class 2A field. Scammon Bay will open play against No. 1-ranked Point Hope at 6:30 p.m. Hooper Bay will face No. 1-ranked Unalaska at 8 a.m.
Barrow, the Western Conference champion, and Kotzebue will get the girls’ Class 3A tournament under way on Thursday. Barrow will play Galena at 6:30 p.m. Kotzebue will meet up with No. 1-ranked Anchorage Christian at 11 a.m.
In the boys’ 3A tournament, Barrow will meet Grace Christian at 5 p.m., while Nome-Beltz will face Eielson.