Valdez girls and Barrow boys win Elks Tournament

By Tony Gorman

Familiar foes faced see each other in the girls’ final of the 35th Elks Tournament last weekend.  Fans got their money’s worth watching Round 3 between Aurora Conference rivals Valdez and Hutchison.  The teams split their regular season series earlier this year. 

Early in the game, Hutchison used a full court press to prevent the Lady Bucs from moving up the court.  The plan forced Valdez to turn the ball over several times.  “It took us a while to get ball moving and get ball away because they were coming after Alex [Derifield] hard,” Valdez coach Barb Lyons said.  “We had a lot of turnovers and we had been handling the pressure very well. “

Derifield would carry the team in the second and third quarters by scoring 13 of her 15 points to help ground the Lady Hawks in the rubber match, 46-43, for the Elks title.  Caitlin Auble scored a game-high 18 points.  Hutchison’s Mimi Wood led her team in scoring with 11 points before fouling out late in the 4th quarter. 

Derifield averaged 16.3 points and 7 assists during the tournament to earn Most Valuable Player honors.  .  “She has put in two solid tournaments,” Lyons said of the junior.  “She has really stepped up in handling the ball, taking the ball to the basket, passing the ball, and team leadership.  She’s kind of moved into that true point guard role. ”

The Lady Bucs (14-3) will head up to Fairbanks this weekend to take on Monroe Catholic in a critical Aurora Conference series.

Third Place Game-Barrow 55, Kotzebue 43

Last year’s champion, Barrow, had to settle for third place this year after defeating Kotzebue, 55-43.  Dana Chrestman led the team in scoring with 17 points.  Lynette Hepa chipped in 15 points for the Lady Whalers.  Dessirea Kenworthy scored 17 points for Kotzebue in a losing effort.

Fourth Place Game-Seward 47, Bethel 33

Seward had three players score in double figures en route to a 47-33 win over Bethel in the fourth place game.  Meg Berry led the Lady Seahawks with 15 points.  Jessica Stallings had 13 points.  Chelsey Clarke added 12 points.  Kira Polk was the lone star for Bethel with 11 points.

Sixth Place Game-Nikiski 52, Cordova 41

Nikiski salvaged its weekend by knocking off Southcentral Conference foe, Cordova, 52-41, in the sixth place game.  Savannah Griffel had 17 points for the Lady Bulldogs.  Koey Dixon added 10 points.  Cordova’s Misa Webber had a game-high 21 points in a losing effort.


It was business as usual for the Whalers.  Barrow jumped out to a 19-5 lead in the first quarter and finished the half up 31-14.  “That was a kind of a rough start,” Bucs coach Cassie Carey said.  “I give Jeremy [Arnhart] and his crew a lot of credit.  They’re a great basketball team.”  The Whalers continued to hold Valdez to single digits until the fourth quarter.  The Bucs would outscore Barrow, 15-10, in the final frame. But, it wasn’t enough as the Whalers claimed their fourth straight Elks title with ease, 51-33. 

Despite the loss, Carey was still proud her team’s accomplishments.  “Nobody in their high school career got to touch a second place trophy or a first,” Carey said.  It’s nice for the boys to be back in a situation where they are competing and doing a good job of representing the community and Valdez itself.”  

Three Barrow players scored in double figures with Colin Long leading the way with 13 points.  Eben Olemaun and Xavier Edwards each chipped in 10 points.  Glacier Rohrer had a game-high 17 points for Valdez in a losing effort. 

Long was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.  The senior guard averaged 15 points per game during the tournament.

This week, the Bucs (11-6) head to Fairbanks for a crucial Aurora Conference showdown with Monroe Catholic.

Third Place Game-Seward 55, Bethel 47

Matthew Moore turned in a 20-point performance and Jalen Terry added 14 points to help Seward beat Bethel, 55-47 in the third place game.  Theodore Naneng led Bethel in scoring with 16 points.

Fourth Place Game-Cordova 58, Nikiski 33

Last year’s runner-up, Cordova, finished fourth in this year’s tournament after knocking off Southcentral Conference rival Nikiski, 58-33.  Keith Nolan led all scorers with 27 points.  Nikiski’s Lucas Herrin had 14 points.

Sixth Place Game-Hutchison 54, Kotzebue 47

Hutchison capped off its weekend at the Elks Tournament with a 54-47 win over Kotzebue in the sixth place game.  Mark Rima scored a game-high 24 points for the Hawks.  Peter Jones and Colton Jessup each had 18 points for Kotzebue.


Elks Tournament MVP:  Colin Long, Barrow

All Tournament Team:  Barrow-Eddie Benson, Bethel-Carlie Romer and Theodore Naneng, Cordova-Keith Nolan and William Roemhildt, Hutchison-Mark Rima, Nikiski-Colton Anderson, Seward-Jalen Terry, and Valdez-Max Duffy and Glacier Rohrer

Three-point Shooter Award:  Mark Rima, Hutchison, and Colton Anderson, Nikiski

Sportsmanship Award:  Cordova 

Elks Tournament MVP:  Alex Derifield, Valdez

All Tournament Team:  Barrow-Lynette Hepa and Hilary Lowery, Bethel-Kira Polk, Cordova-Misa Webber, Hutchison-Mimi Wood and Echo Winfrey, Kotzebue-Dessirea Kenworthy, Seward-Meg Berry and Chelsey Clark, and Valdez-Caitlin Auble.

Three-Point Shooter Award:  Coleen Snyder, Kotzebue

Sportsmanship Team Award:  Seward

Cheerleading Squad:  1st-Valdez  2nd –Hutchison  3rd-Barrow

Truck Egan Award:  Sara Goudreau 


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