Birchwood Christian’s boys became the first in school history to earn a Class 2A state basketball tournament berth with a thrilling 57-56 win over Effie Kokrine in the Central Interior Conference championship Saturday at Anderson School.

The Warriors held a 57-55 lead but committed a shooting foul as time expired, giving Effie Kokrine a chance to force overtime, assistant coach Brad Rud said. Effie Kokrine made the first free throw but missed the second, Rud said, giving Birchwood the win and the only Central Interior state berth.

West ended Chugiak's hopes of reaching the Cook Inlet Conference girls basketball tournament title game, handing the Mustangs a 44-40 defeat in the tournament semifinals Friday night at West High.

After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, Chugiak rallied to take a 30-29 lead into the fourth quarter. But the host Eagles outscored Chugiak 15-10 down the stretch to earn one of the conference's two automatic state tournament bids.


After the second day of the Cook Inlet Conference basketball tournament, Chugiak’s girls are the lone local team whose season will continue.

The Mustangs defeated Bartlett 40-21 while Eagle River’s boys lost a heartbreaker 61-60 to tournament host West on Thursday, March 1.

Shaquan Rhoades and Chris Parker led the Wolves with 14 points each. Kevin Waterman (11 points) also reached double digits for Eagle River.

Chugiak held the Golden Bears to just six first-half points and did not let Bartlett score double digits in any quarter.


Dimond ended both the Eagle River girls and Chugiak boys basketball seasons in the opening round of the Cook Inlet Conference tournament Wednesday, Feb. 29 at West.

The Lynx cruised to an 89-15 victory in the girls’ game and beat Chugiak’s boys 51-34.

Lauren Frost paced Eagle River with eight points.

In the boys’ game, a 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Dimond a six-point lead heading into the final quarter.

 Chugiak High junior Alistie Aguilar leads the third-seeded Mustangs in scoring with 9.3 points per game and assists with 2.2 per game heading into the Cook Inlet Conference tournament, which started Feb. 29 and continues through the weekend at West High. Aguilar, 16, is the daughter of Misty and Alfonso Aguilar of Eagle River.

Chugiak mushers Jim Lanier and Mike Suprenant will be among a field of 66 mushers who hit the trail this weekend for the 2012 Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

This year’s ceremonial race start will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3 in Anchorage.

The official start of the race will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 4 in Willow.

Lanier, 71, is a retired physician who first ran the Iditarod in 1979. He has never scratched and is a 14-time finisher whose best showing was 18th in 2004.

Eagle River boys basketball opens the Cook Inlet Conference tournament today (Thursday, March 1) against No. 4 seed West at 6 p.m. on the Eagles’ home court.

Head coach Fred Young knows West will be looking for revenge after the fifth-seeded Wolves pounded the Eagles by 22 points just 12 days ago.

“They’re gonna come out pretty hard,” Young said.

While the recent win over West is encouraging, Young said, a trip to state is on the line every game of the conference tournament because only two Class 4A berths are guaranteed from the CIC.

Both Birchwood Christian School (BCS) basketball teams have a chance to make history by becoming the first Warriors team to earn a Class 2A state tournament berth.

The boys enter today’s (Thursday, March 1) Central Interior Conference tournament as the No. 1 seed with a perfect 10-0 conference record and receive a first-round bye.

The team’s hard work has given them success all season and will be key in the Warriors’ quest to earn the Central Interior’s lone state berth, assistant coach Brad Rud said.

Chugiak’s girls will look to avenge their regular season finale loss to Bartlett today (Thursday, March 1) when the two square off in the Cook Inlet Conference tournament opener at 4 p.m. at West High.

The Mustangs’ lackluster performance led to a 37-34 loss to the Golden Bears on Feb. 24, Chugiak head coach Ryan Hales said.

“We just weren’t in the game,” he said. “We kind of went into the game a little overconfident.”