The Nikolaevsk Warriors boys and girls basketball teams have barely left the court in the past week. In at-home games, the boys played Nanwalek Jan. 28 and both the boys and girls teams played Cook Inlet Academy Jan. 30 and Kalskag Feb. 2. On the road Tuesday, they played Lumen Christi in Anchorage.
That should get them more than warmed up for the three-day Nenana Invitational Tournament, with participating teams from Fort Yukon, Tri-Valley, Su-Valley, Huslia, Effie Kokrine, Minto, Seldovia and Nenana.
Basketball fever hit a high during the Nikolaevsk girls’ Jan. 30 battle against CIA. At the end of the first quarter, CIA was ahead, 13-10, and maintained their lead until the half, 21-16. In the third quarter, CIA kept up the pressure, finishing the period 27-18. Then, in the fourth quarter, the Warriors picked up momentum, edging their way closer and closer to their opponent.
“Niko was down 12 in the fourth with seven minutes remaining,” said Steve Klaich, head coach for the boys team who watched the action from the sidelines.
A three-pointer by Nikolaevsk team captain Kilina Klaich cut the deficit to 1 with 16 seconds remaining.
A free throw by Madison Orth gave CIA back its lead until, with seven seconds left in regulation play, Nikolaevsk’s Nadejda Gordeev hit a short jump in the key and tied the game 34-34.
The intensity only increased as the game went into overtime, with the teams continuing to tie, 36-36.
In a second overtime, Vera Fefelov gave the Warriors the lead they needed to win the game 38-37.
“Nikolaevsk finished with two starters on the bench,” said Klaich. “Kilina sprained her ankle on the three-point shot late in regulation and never returned. Megan Hickman fouled out with 44 (seconds) in regulation. We are very proud of the bench players stepping up.”
The Nikolaevsk boys team suffered a loss to CIA, with the central peninsula team taking home a 59-45 victory.
In the Jan. 28 Nikolaevsk-Nanwalek match-up, the Warriors claimed 49 points against the five-member Eagles’ 10 points. Xavier Romanoff led the Nanwalek team with eight points; Kalenik Molodih and Felemon Molodih were high scorers for Nikolaevsk, with 10 points each.
Monday, both Nikolaevsk’s girls and boys teams won their games against Kalskag:
• Nikolaevsk girls 64; Kalskag 43;
• Nikolaevsk boys 44, Kalskag 23.
In Tuesday’s games against Lumen Christi, the Nikolaevsk girls dominated every period of play and claimed a 40-20 victory.
Kilina Klaich was back in the action after spraining her ankle in the CIA game last week and scored two points for her team. Serafima Kalugin was the high-scorer with 16.
The Nikolaevsk boys were a powerhouse team on the court against Lumen Christi, with 25 points scored in the first period, a whopping 39 points in the final period and enough in between to give them an 80-33 win. High scorer for the Warriors was Neil Gordeev with 26.
At the Nenana Invitational, the Nikolaevsk girls are scheduled to kick off the action with a game against Tri-Valley at 8 a.m. today. The boys play Effie Kokrine, a Fairbanks charter school, at 12:30 p.m.
The championship games are Saturday, the girls at 6:30 p.m., and the boys at 8 p.m.