Some teams are fighting for a chance to play at the state tournament, while other teams are already assured a spot based on the Alaska School Activities Association’s winning percentage index.
The Kodiak boys need to win Friday’s game to get in.
The Bears are ninth in the latest WPI rankings and most likely will not receive one of the two at-large berths to the state tournament. The at-large berths are given to the highest-ranked WPI teams that do not qualify for state through a conference tournament.
Kodiak’s girls are first in both the WPI rankings and this week’s Daily Mirror NLC power rankings.
1. Kodiak (22-0 overall, 10-0 NLC) — The Bears capped an undefeated season with a rare sweep of Wasilla over the weekend. Kodiak gets to watch the first day of the NLC tournament before playing in a semifinal game on Friday.
2. Colony (12-11, 6-4) — The Knights finished third in the NLC standings, but I believe they are the second-best team in the conference and will face Kodiak in Saturday’s championship game. Colony finished the season with a loss to 3A ACS (59-48) and a win against Palmer (51-32).
3. Soldotna (17-5, 7-3) — Soldotna earned the conference’s second seed by beating Kenai (44-25) last Saturday. The Stars will get upended in the semifinals by Colony, but will earn one of the two at-large bids to the state tournament.
4. Wasilla (11-10, 4-6) — Shayla Johnson is a threat on the court, but her play wasn’t enough to upset Kodiak. Wasilla could get another chance at Kodiak in Friday’s semifinal round, but first must beat rival Palmer on Thursday.
5. Palmer (10-12, 3-7) — The Moose enter the NLC tournament having lost four out of their last five games. Palmer lost to Wasilla (43-23) and Colony (51-32) last week and will face the Warriors again on Thursday.
6. Kenai (7-13, 0-10) — The Kardinals have a slim chance against Colony on Thursday based on their 28-23 loss to the Knights earlier this season.
1. Colony (17-5, 8-2) — Colony clinched the conference’s top spot with a win over Palmer (53-50) last Friday. Regardless of what happens this weekend, the Knights are a shoe in for the state tournament.
2. Kodiak (14-9, 7-3) — The good news for Kodiak is it doesn’t have to face the same team in back-to-back games the rest of the season. Kodiak’s three conference losses have come on the second day of a back-to-back series.
3. Wasilla (10-14, 7-3) — Wasilla faces Kenai in Thursday’s first round and will most likely advance to play Kodiak in Friday’s semifinal game. The Warriors finished the regular season with a win over the Bears (65-60).
4. Soldotna (11-9, 5-5) — The Stars beat Palmer and Kenai twice and Kodiak once during the regular season.
5. Palmer (5-15, 3-7) — Palmer is my darkhorse for the conference tournament. The Moose lost two close games to Wasilla and Colony last week, but has the pieces to reach Saturday’s title game.
6. Kenai (2-19, 0-10) — Thanks for playing.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.