Thursday: Sitka girls knock Homer from Class 3A state tourney

The Homer girls basketball team was eliminated from the Class 3A state tournament with a 60-32 loss at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage last Thursday.

The No. 5-seeded Mariners (18-11) were playing the No. 8 Wolves to make it to the fourth-place game. Sitka faced No. 6 Bethel for fourth place.

As was the case in a 75-39 loss to No. 4 Mt. Edgecumbe in the opening round, Homer head coach Dan Miotke said turnovers were a big issue against the Wolves.

“We had too many turnovers,” Miotke said of the loss to Mt. Edgecumbe. “And then today, it was the same thing.

“I’m sure that Sitka watched that game and knew that we struggled a bit. So that was their game plan.”

Homer had 24 turnovers in the game, while Sitka had 22. Miotke said the bulk of Homer’s turnovers came in the first half, when Sitka led 17-4 after the first quarter and 36-13 at halftime.

The Mariners played better in the second half, with a 12-all score in the third quarter, then losing the fourth quarter 12-7.

“We definitely came out at halftime and regrouped a little bit and played tougher,” Miotke said. “I just kept telling the girls, ‘Let’s take advantage of this opportunity and go play with everything you got. Because this is an opportunity not everybody gets to do — to go play at state.”

Sitka was 23 of 47 from the floor in the game, while the Mariners were 12 of 43 to end their first state appearance since 2021.

“I’m still really proud of our season, and that the girls were able to get here,” said Miotke, who is in his first year at the helm. “I feel like state is something you kind of build on, and to not be here for a few years, then show up, it’s a hard thing to do.

“This was a great opportunity for our younger players to get a little bit of taste of what it feels like to be up here.”

The coach said one thing the Mariners definitely learned is that more physical play is allowed at the state tournament.

Miotke also said he learned a lot of things that he can do as a coach to have the team more prepared for state.

Seniors Minadora Reutov, Sydney Shelby and Lillie Mae Kuhn played in their final games for the Mariners. Shelby had 9 points, while Reutov had 7 and Kuhn had 6.

“After the game, they all talked a little bit and were proud of the team,” Miotke said of the seniors. “They talked to the underclassmen and said, ‘Now you guys know what it takes to get here. Keep working hard and let’s make this a thing we do more often.’”

Miotke said the underclassmen got the message.

“We have to put in the work in the summers and offseason,” he said. “We’re building this program and this is a great experience.

“Even though we’re done, we get to go watch some really good basketball the rest of today and Saturday.”

Also for Homer, Keagan Niebuhr had 5, Channing Lowney had 4 and Madalyn Miotke had 1.

All 10 players in the book scored for the Wolves: Adriana Denkinger and Madison Dill had 12, Naia Nelson and Elise Brady had 7, Penelope Blankenship had 6, Allyson Mayville, Dylan Radziukinas and Marina Dill had 4, and Clare Mullin and Bristol Clifton had 2.

Wednesday hoops

The Homer girls basketball team lost 75-39 to Mt. Edgecumbe in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament Wednesday, March 20, at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.

Homer (18-10) had trouble with the pressure of No. 4 Mt. Edgecumbe. The Mariners had 35 turnovers to the five of the Braves.

Mt. Edgecumbe led 18-9 after a quarter and 47-21 at halftime.

The Mariners won the rebound battle 36-33 and shot the ball well, finishing 16 of 34 from the floor. The Braves were 34 of 79.

Channing Lowney had 11 to lead Homer, while Sydney Shelby had 10, Minadora Reutov had 7, Keagan Niebuhr had 6, Lillie Mae Kuhn and Madalyn Miotke had 2, and Mally Im had 1.

For the Braves, Carliese O’Brien had 29 points, seven rebounds and seven steals. Also, Tessa Anderson had 21, Bessie Williams had 11, Tahira Akaran had 7, Raegan David had 3, and Lauren Cedars and Shianne Otton had 2 apiece.