Newhalen rallies past Chefornak for state title
Close. So close. For much of the first half, the Chefornak Lady Shaman could almost feel the Class 1A state basketball trophy in their hands. Then, in the second, they felt it slip away.
After surviving a slow start, the Newhalen Malamutes rallied to claim a 51-30 victory in the finals of the girls’ Class 1A state championship game on Wednesday. The Malamutes scored 47 of their 51 total points in the final three quarters.
Chefornak controlled the contest in the first quarter. The Lady Shaman outscored Newhalen by an 8-0 clip over the first 7:11 of the game, and took a 10-4 cushion into the start of the first quarter.
The Malamutes turned the tide in the second. Newhalen pushed in a 14-5 run in the second and carried an 18-15 lead into the half.
Offensively, neither team shot that well from the floor in the first half. Chefornak made just 20.7 percent of its attempts from the field in the first 16 minutes. Newhalen made just 21.2 percent.
The Malamutes put together a 12-8 run in the third and took a 30-23 lead into the fourth quarter. Newhalen closed out the win with a staggering 21-7 run in the final frame, joining the Newhalen boys in a clean sweep of the 1A State Basketball titles.
Senior Ashley Sipary led all Chefornak players offensively, finishing the game with eight points. Vicki Wiseman, Stacey Panruk and Theresa Mark all added six, while Andrea Tunuchuk chipped in four.
Chefornak cruised through the first two rounds of the tournament. The Lady Shamans won their first two contests by an average of 15.5 points.
Chefornak, keyed by 20 points from Mark and 19 more by Tunuchuk, pounded out a 66-36 win over Shishmaref in the semifinals. Panruk also hit double figures in the contest, finishing with 15.
In the first round, the Lady Shaman stunned Alak by a 46-45 margin in overtime. Chefornak outscored Alak by a 5-4 clip in the extra frame to net the victory.
In the win, Panruk led all CHS scorers with 14 points. Mark and Tunuchuk each contributed 11.
The Aniak Lady Halfbreeds also turned in a solid effort in the 1A tournament. Aniak rebounded from a first-round loss to Newhalen to earn a spot in the consolation finals.
Following the loss to Newhalen, Aniak posted a 62-49 win over St. Mary in the consolation semifinals.
In the fourth-place game, Alak used a 17-11 run in the first eight minutes of the second half and managed to eke out a 53-44 win.
Despite the loss, the Lady Halfbreeds picked up stellar performances from Raven Phillips and Trisha Wolf. A 5-foot-6 junior, Phillips recorded a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Wolf, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, just missed a double-double. She had 19 points and eight rebounds.
St. Mary’s went 0-2 in the tournament, including a 66-25 loss to Fort Yukon in the first round.
2012 1A Girls Results
1st: Newhalen; 2nd: Chefornak; 3rd: Fort Yukon; 4th: Alak