Nanooks varsity wraps up season in triumphant fashion
Fri, 03/04/2016 - 2:37pm admin
While the Lady Nanooks varsity girls cagers traveled south last weekend to end their regular season with a pair of wins against the Lady Wolfpack of Unalakleet, the Nanook boys basketball team entertained the home crowd at Nome-Beltz with a pair of thrilling wins over the boys from Unalakleet.
The Nanooks looked to be in cruise control mode on Friday night as they jumped out to a 23-16 half-time lead, and extended that to 35-27 at the end of the third period.
The final quarter, however, turned out to be a scoring fest, of which the last two minutes were a track meet. The 2A Wolfpack continued to claw themselves back in the game, and narrowed the gap to four points at 44-40 with 1:40 to play.
To counter Unalakleet’s surges and three-point bombs, senior Leif Erikson worked his way to the free throw line. He hit five big free throws down the stretch, the last coming with 4.3 seconds on the clock. Erikson connected on nine of ten from the charity stripe in the final frame, leading Nome to a narrow 55-53 victory.
The Wolfpack didn’t make it any easier on Nome on Saturday as they took a 29-23 lead into the locker room at halftime. While the Nanooks grabbed the lead in the third quarter, they were unable to separate themselves from Unalakleet.
With 26.6 seconds remaining, the Wolfpack’s Arctic Ivanoff hit a three-point shot to close the gap at 60-58. On the next possession, Nanook junior Mikey Scott was fouled and hit both his free throws to bring the lead up to 62-58. After a big Wolfpack basket, Taylor Harvey was fouled and sank a free throw with 3.5 seconds remaining, bringing his team to within one point at 62-61. Mikey Scott was subsequently fouled and connected on a free throw, and then, like the night before, Erikson worked his way to the line. With 1.9 seconds remaining, he hit both of his free throws to help nail down a 64-61 win.
Senior Ian Booth led Nome in scoring on Friday with 16 points, while Scott led the team on Saturday with 18. Unalakleet was led by Kadyn Erickson’s 15 points on Friday. Harvey and David Johnson led the Wolfpack on Saturday with 16.
According to the website ASAA365, the pair of victories raised the Nanook boys season record to 5-16. They concluded regular season conference play in last place with a 1-5 mark, and will face the Barrow Whalers (20-4) in the opening round of the Western Conference Tournament at Dimond High School at 4:30 March 10. The second-seeded Bethel Warriors (15-9) will take on the third place Kotzebue Huskies (10-9).
The Lady Nanooks beat Unalakleet 71-47 on Friday, and 64-36 on Saturday. Senora Ahmasuk led her team in scoring both nights with 36 and 26-point efforts.
The Nome girls finished the regular season with a 12-11 record. Their 2-4 mark against regional foes nets them third place in the Western Conference. They will play the Bethel Warriors (13-7, 6-2) in the opening round of the Western Conference tournament 7:00 p.m. at Dimond High on Thursday, March 10. The top ranked Lady Whalers from Barrow (16-4, 5-1) will open with the last place Lady Huskies of Kotzebue (8-12, 1-7).
Nanook Seniors were honored in the Nome-Beltz gym on Saturday night. Senior cagers playing their last game in a Nanooks uniform included third year varsity member Ian Booth, who has played in 49 varsity games. He leads the 2016 team in three-point shots made and is second on the squad in scoring and rebounding. He scored a career high 28 points against Barrow last weekend.
Senior Leif Erikson has been on the varsity unit for two years, and has played in 37 games. He ends the regular season as the team's third leading scorer, and had a career high 17 points in a win over Kotzebue earlier in the year. Erikson prides himself in his defensive efforts and leads the squad in steals and deflections.
Three Nanooks made the varsity squad for the first time this year. Clay Outwater has appeared in all 22 games the Nanooks have played this season, and is third on the team in three-point shots made. Ty Gooden appeared in 17 games. He scored his first varsity points against Mount Edgecumbe and is third in deflections. Nathan Tobuk played in 20 games this season and scored his first varsity points against Grace Christian.
Four varsity cheerleaders were encouraging the Nome-Beltz crowd for the last time. Allaryce Agloinga cheered each of her four years in high school. Kalani Suemai is next in seniority with three years on the team. Jadyn Otton and Alexandria Nassuk were both first year cheerleaders.
Band director Ron Horner honored four members of the Nome Pep Band. Allaryce Agloinga plays clarinet and started with the band in seventh grade. She participated for six years. James Horner is a tuba player for the pep band while brother Nolan Horner plays baritone saxophone. Nathan Tobuk plays Alto Saxophone. All three started in eighth grade and participated for five years.
Ron Horner also recognized senior choir members Sam Cross, Leif Erikson, Nolan Horner, Jadyn Otton and Nathan Tobuk. This group sang the National Anthem and the Alaska Flag Song before many games.
In other action
The Nome-Beltz junior high boys played a pair of games against the junior high squad from Unalakleet. The Wolfpack defeated the Nanooks 92-36 of Friday, behind Aiden Ivanoff’s 48 points. He connected on nine three-point shots. Marcos Ornelos led Nome with 10 points.
The Unalakleet junior high boys used another big night from Ivanoff to beat Nome 89-27 on Saturday. Ivanoff scored 36 points in that contest. Nome was again led by a ten-point effort from Ornelos.
A Nanooks junior varsity squad made up of Daynon Medlin, Abby Tozier, Amber Gray, Athena Hall and Sierra Tucker defeated a city-league team 42-32. They were led by Tucker's 14 points. Bev Krier led the women's team with 15.
The Nome junior varsity boys played an intersquad game. Dawson Evans led all scorers with 14 points. Aaron Motis scored 12.
Halftime entertainment was provided during the games by fifth and sixth grade basketball teams.