Lady Bucs take second at state championships
Coach says worst part for rivals is the team’s return next season
The Lady Buccaneers took second place in the state championships last week, coming within a hairs breadth of the top spot.
Valdez went into the championships with their eye on the Barrow Whalers, but in the end it was Sitka that managed to best Valdez in a nail biter Saturday.
“It was an amazing week,” Coach Doug Fleming said Monday, taking a small detour from a well-earned vacation to talk to the Valdez Star about last the championships. “They played exceptionally well. It was a little bittersweet…to come that close.”
In fact, the team played exceptionally well throughout the three day tournament.
Valdez bested Nikiski 47-33 Thursday.
“The kids had a great game there,” Fleming said, noting Valdez had also beat Nikiski in last year in the first rounds of the 2014 championships. “We knew they were wanting payback.”
What they got was a big dose of freshman Makenzi Mott, who scored 15 points, followed by Marian Wamsley and Veronica Hursh, who contributed 10 points each.
Moving up the roster, Valdez took on the Barrow Whalers Friday, but took a beating in the process.
“It was probably the most physical game we played all season,” Fleming said. “Barrow did not want to lose.”
Neither did the Lady Bucs, who despite a number of bumps and bruises, took off ahead of Barrow, with a final score of 53-45.
“It was definitely a physical, physical game,” Fleming said.
Wamsley led the charge in the Barrow game, scoring 21 points. Hursh contributed 10 and Mott 8.
“It was amazing,” Fleming said of the team’s cohesion when playing against Barrow, “the togetherness.”
A slow first quarter and a series of fouls contributed to a tougher – and less successful – match up against Sitka Wolves for the championship.
The Lady Bucs let Sitka take the first quarter of the game, which ended 19-10.
“They got a quick start on us,” Fleming said.
Valdez pumped it up in the second quarter, keeping Sitka down to 4 points, while adding 12 points to its own tally.
A series of fouls added to the downfall, which ended with a victory for Sitka, 53-50.
Mott topped the Lady Bucs, scoring 13 points. Fleming and Wamsley scored 12 points each.
“They took the loss rather well,” Fleming said, keeping his focus forward. “The worst part for them, we’re coming back.”
The team is losing only two senior players. Hursh, a top scorer, and Wamsley, who was named 3-A all-state player of the year.
Fleming said fans of the Lady Buccaneers should keep their eyes on sophomore Jane Sharrai next season, who he believes will rival the best of the best, as well as veteran players such as Madison Fleming and freshman upstart Makenzi Mott.