The Viking basketball teams have returned from their regional games, and their season is officially over. The Lady Vikings didn’t make it to the state tournament with the Viking boys — but Dino Brock, who coaches the girls’ teams, said he’s proud of how the Lady Vikings have honed their defensive skills this season. Sophomore Lady Vikings Adara Curtiss and Eleanor Kandoll took home the Good Sport Award, and junior Anya Pawuk made All Conference.

For the young athletes of the Lady Vikings basketball team, the 22-23 season was a trial by fire. But for Coach Dino, the key word has always been: improvement. Dino broke down their two regional games.

“We went to regionals and ended up playing two games against Wrangell and against Haines,” said Dino. “We started out the first game against Wrangell. Nice job defensively, but we continued to struggle scoring. But I thought that, in both games, we did a very nice job defensively. We made some changes before the Wrangell game, trying to take away Wrangell’s top scorer. And I thought that we did a really nice job. But some of the other girls on their team hit some shots. Overall, I thought our effort was great; our attitude was great.”

Wrangell’s Lady Wolves beat them 48-to-10. The Lady Vikings’ next game was against the Haines Glacier Bears.

“We thought we came out fired up and ready to play” said Dino. “Then, same kind of thing — I thought that we played with a lot of energy, and played with a lot of heart. We just struggled to score again.”

The Petersburg girls’ second regional game was closer. The Haines Glacier Bears beat them 38-to-16. Dino said audiences across the Southeast recognized Petersburg’s good sportsmanship and fighting spirit.

People in other communities talked about how hard we played and how well we played our effort levels through both games,” said Dino. “There were just lots and lots of compliments over the weekend.”

Dino praised key players who won awards for their performance. 

“So, Anya Pawuk made All Conference,” said Dino. “Then Adara Curtiss and Eleanor Kandoll — both made the Good Sport Award, which could have [gone] to a lot of different players. But it’s good recognition for them for everything they’ve done.”

Dino said he has never had a group that showed so much improvement from the beginning of the season. He also points out that most of the kids the Lady Vikings played against were older, bigger, and more experienced. And that dynamic could set them up for success in the future. 

“Well, I think a huge part of it was just our youth,” said Dino. “It’s one senior and two juniors. The majority of our team is made up of sophomores and freshmen.”

Dino said the team’s performance is unrecognizable from where they were earlier in the season. That means, he believes, they’ll be ready for whatever the next year will bring.

“If you watch this at the beginning of the season and watch us at the end of the season, we are two completely different teams,” said Dino. “Experience-wise, skill-wise — all of it. And that’s just on the kids, with all the time and effort that they put in and how hard they worked at practice.”

Dino said he’s excited for next year, and that the improvement he witnessed in the 22-23 season was: just huge.