Aniak boys are State Champions

by Shane Iverson on March 17, 2011

The boys high school basketball team from the Kuskokwim village of Aniak completed a perfect season by winning in the State Championship game last night at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. The win marks the first state basketball championship for the boys of Aniak, and coach Wayne Morgan.

Hear the last few, exciting seconds of the game:

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The Halfbreeds met the Newhalen Malamute’s in the final to deteremine who would be number one and number two in the state.  Newhalen jumped early and had a 1 point lead at the end of the first quarter, 17-16.

As the game advanced Newhalen was superior in many categories of play. They turned over the ball less, secured more rebounds, and they scored more on second chance points.  Aniak, however, had the shooters, and they were all hitting buckets when it counted.

In the 2nd quarter the Halfbreeds drained one more 3-pointer than Newhalen and one more free throw to take the lead.

In the 3rd quarter Aniak went cold, but Newhalen went even colder, managing just 6 points in those 8 minutes.   That allowed Aniak to push their lead to as much as 9 points. But Bruce Morgan picked up his 4th personal foul.

Substituting for Morgan was Dakota Phillips who would end the game as Aniak’s second highest scorer. He had 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Those points would be crucial as Newhalen started the 4th quarter by scoring back-to-back 3-pointers, instantly cutting the lead to 2 points.  Aniak quickly responded and pulled away again leaving Newhalen desperate in the final minutes. 

The Malamute’s began launching 3-pointers, but those shots would all come up empty.  Both teams scored more than 20 points in that last quarter. Aniak was able to stay out in front to win the game and the 1a Boys State Championship by 9 points: 67-58.

Four more Aniak players ended with double digit scoring. Rily Morgan had 12 points, including 3 buckets from behind the arc. Harry Morgan also had 12 points before fouling out. Ryan Morgan ended with 11 points, and Bruce Morgan led the team with 14.

This basketball championship may be the first for Aniak’s boys, but sports fans in the Y-K Delta may notice that the win marks the third year in a row that a team from the Kuskokwim river has won State.  The Napaskiak boys did it last year, and Kalskag was the first small school from the region to win state in 2009.

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