Petersburg High School’s boys basketball team took second place at a tournament in Nome over the weekend with two wins and one loss. The girls team lost three games at the tournament. Coaches for both teams are glad for the experience gained against some larger schools.

The tournament in Nome featured a couple of larger 3A schools Grace Christian and Nome, along with 2A schools Petersburg and Unalakleet.
The Grizzlies from Grace Christian took the tournament titles for both boys and girls. The Petersburg boys came in second with two wins and one loss.

Boys coach Rick Brock said the three teams had different styles of play. “Grace Christian’s really tough in their half court defense, extremely fast defensively,” he said. “They don’t let you get a look at the basket at all, real patient on the offensive end. Nome was a little bit like playing Ketchikan as far as pressing us full court, lots of slashing to the basket. They’ve got a lot of kids that are 6’1”, 6’2”, 6’3” that are long and athletic. And then Unalakleet is just a hard-nosed team. Their style is a little bit different. They have an exceptional player who’s hard to guard and they’ve just got a long tradition of excellent basketball. All three different styles which is fantastic for us getting ready for our conference and eventually for regional tournament play.”

The boys started off the tournament with a 54-44 loss to Grace. Rylan Wallace led scoring for the Vikings with 10 points in that game. On Friday, the Vikings beat the Nome Nanooks 78-66. Gunnar Payne and Thomas Durkin both had 17 points for Petersburg. Brock thought that game was his team’s best of the young season in terms of offense.

“One of the things I felt coming into the year is we’d have a good balanced team especially on the scoring end and to get five players in double figures is rare,” he said. “I can’t remember that ever happening with another squad that I’ve had. But again I think that speaks to, what I think is one of our strengths that we have multiple players that can score. Throughout that game different players stepped up at different times. Again we had a 20 point lead somewhere in the second quarter and somewhere in the third-fourth quarter. They kept coming at us. Kept battling back like good teams do and we were always able to hold the fort and then stretch the lead back out and weather the storm the next time they came at us.”

The Vikings finished off the tournament on Saturday with a 63-61 win over Unalakleet. Louden Sandhofer had 26 points for Petersburg and the Vikings made key free throws to clinch the game. Thomas Durkin and Rylan Wallace were named to the all-tournament team and Brayden Larsen was the winner of the free throw contest. The boys improve their record to 2 and 5 on the season and the varsity team is on the road to take on Craig the weekend after this.

The Petersburg’s girls team lost three games at the Nome tournament. Coach Dino Brock was glad for the level of competition. “We played two 3A schools that will be very competitive,” he said. “I think both of them will have a pretty good shot at making state and then Unalakleet who is one of the better 2A schools consistently in the state so it was really good competition for us.”

On Thursday the girls lost to Grace Christian 42-35. Kaili Simbahon led scoring for Petersburg with 18 points. Friday the girls lost 46-32 to Nome. Simbahon led scoring for Petersburg with nine points and Saturday Unalakleet beat the Lady Vikings 47-44. In that game Petersburg had a 10-point lead in the third quarter but struggled against full court pressure and couldn’t hold on for the win.

“We talked about this a lot that we won’t see things like this a lot at our level,” Brock said. “And so all the different things, we got to face all the different offenses, all the different defenses, the presses and stuff like that, it’s just going to make us better in the end and that’s the reason you go do those things. So tons of good experience for us and things that we now know we need to work on, things we know that we do well. So we got a lot out of the weekend.”

For the girls Ines Larson and Simbahon were named to the all-tournament team. Larson won the hot shot contest and Simbahon won the bump competition. Tayla Heppe was second in the three-point shooting competition. The girls varsity has this weekend off and next plays at home against Craig.

There is basketball in Petersburg this weekend with junior varsity teams coming to town for the Little Norway tournament. JV squads from Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain, Ketchikan and Sitka will be in town to take on some of Petersburg’s younger players. Games are Thursday, Friday and Saturday.