Petersburg High School’s basketball season came to an end over the weekend as the girls claimed their first ever state championship and the boys finished second. It was Petersburg’s first year in the 2A conference and a successful season for both teams.
The Vikings close out the season with a record of 19 wins and 8 losses. At the state tournament Petersburg beat Bristol Bay on Thursday 47-26 and Unalakleet on Friday 56-39.
Stewart Conn had 20 points in the Bristol Bay game, Wolf Brooks added 10. Against Unalakleet, Alan McCay led scoring with 15, Conn had 13 and Brooks scored 12. Petersburg lost to Unalaska in the championship game 49-39. Coach Rick Brock reflected on the run through the state tournament.
“The semis are I think more stressful than the championship game,” Brock said. “The semis are everybody knows that’s the game to get into the big dance, or the big game. I was real happy with the way we played the first two games. The third game, the title game, I think nerves got to us a little bit. I think Unalaska’s a very very good team, very physical, very quick, athletic and we just couldn’t match that for 32 minutes.”
In that final game Conn led the Vikings in scoring with 15 and McCay added 10. Conn was named to the all-tournament team, as was Wolf Brooks for leading the tournament in rebounds. Kjell Witstock and Ethan Bryner were named good sports award winners.
Brock noted it was a successful season despite the loss in the final game, especially with the change in conferences. “We were a 500 team (last year), hadn’t gone to state for a while. It’s hard to go from that to being the number one seed and then winning regions and getting to state and winning a couple of games. You know the guys from their hard work and effort, and sticking together and believing in what we were trying to do, they really improved during the season and really cleared a couple of hurdles that are kindof hard to do in one year, become a winning team win a championship and then get to the championship game at state.”
Brock also thought one of Petersburg’s better games was against the Wolfpack of Unalakleet, not the title game against the top seeded Raiders. “Us and Unalaska are kindof built the same way, we really rely on our half-court defense. In the semis we were able to take Unalakleet out of their offensive sets and then convert on our end. One of our better games of the year. I thought the kids as a group shared the ball and then defensively really shut them down. So quality, quality game for us in the semis.”
Petersburg graduates four seniors, Ben Johnson, Kjell Witstock, Ethan Bryner and Jordan Lapeyie and will return an experience group of under-classmen for next season.
The Lady Vikings won their first championship with 43-34 battle against the Bristol Bay Angels. For girls coach Dino Brock, the championship matchup was an intense, defensive game.
“Both teams took away pretty much everything the other team was trying to do,” Brock said. “And it just kinda stuck that way. We ended up having a two point third quarter. They outscored us two points to seven so it kindof shows you how the game was being played. It went into the fourth quarter tied and we hit some big free throws. Kylie hit some big free throws for us, Chandler Strickland hit a couple jump shots for us. But it was a team effort, the defensive effort that we put out by everybody who was on the floor was amazing.”
Kylie Wallace scored 16 points in that game for the Lady Vikings, Ruby Brock had nine and Emma Chase scored eight. Petersburg beat Dillingham 43-25 and Nenana 50-39 to get to the championship game.
Courtney Fredrickson was high scorer in the Dillingham game with 10 points, while Chase scored nine. Wallace had 23 points against Nenana, Brock scored 11 and Adanna Kvernvik put in 10.
Dino Brock was named coach of the year. He credits former coach Lee Ribich and current assistant coach Kerri Curtiss for the honor. Also Wallace was named player of the year. “Very deserving I think and she showed that at state,” Brock said. “But again that’s part of the group, everyday working, making each other better, being willing to sacrifice some of your personal stats for the good of the team and what we viewed as the best way to play it. All of the honors that we got it’s really because of the group, because of the team and what they were willing to sacrifice and work towards.”
Ruby Brock and Emma Chase were also named to the all-tournament team. Brock describes his championship team as a hard working group. “They enjoy being around each other. There a lot of the squabbles, the fighting. They enjoy being around each other. The day in and day out, they came in and worked everyday. They had a goal from the beginning of the season of where they wanted to get and it worked out great.” The Lady Vikings also four seniors to graduation, Wallace, Brock, Kvernvik and Josie Prus.
The girls finished with a record of 25-1, their one loss came against Ketchikan at the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic in December. Since that loss the team went on a 20-game winning streak and they didn’t lose a game in 2016.