Mott named MVP after leading Lady Bucs in Region III tourney
Valdez shooting to the top as state championship games begin next week
The Lady Buccaneers are heading to the state championships this week after beating the competition in last week's Region III tourney.
Makenzi Mott was named MVP of the 3A tournament, with teammates Madison Fleming and Katy Merioles making the all-tournament team.
The team's performance last week was consistent with its number one seed going into regionals.
The Lady Bucs will play its first game in the championships a week from Thursday, when Valdez is slated to play against Mt. Edgecumbe - a perennial powerhouse in Alaska's highly competitive high school basketball scene.
The games begin 8 a.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
The team has won a number of regional titles through the years, but has not won a state championship since 2001.
Valdez goes into the championships with a 11-1 record in division play, and a season tally of 20 wins, four losses.
The Lady Bucs beat Eielson Thursday, 58-32.
Valdez bested Eielson in the first three quarters of the game. Mott dominated the scoreboard, plunking an impressive 32 points and seven rebounds. Sidney Hursh followed with 9 points.
Expectations were running high Friday when the team prepared to take on the Lady Hawks of Galena.
The team allowed Galena to outscore Valdez 12-7 in the first quarter, and tie 6-6 during the second. Fans were on edge going into the third, when the Lady Bucs managed to outshoot Galena by four points. This left the Lady Bucs trailing by one point, 23-24 going into the fourth quarter. Valdez outscored Galena by four points, for the 34-30 win - and the region III title.
Mott again led in scoring, contributing 21 points and 13 rebounds.
The Buccaneers boys ended the team's basketball season after giving up two of the three games at the Region III championships.
Monroe Catholic bested the Bucs Thursday and Saturday in two of most important games of the season during the regional tournament in Fairbanks.
However, this year's Buccaneer team is heavy on underclassmen who are emerging as formidable opponents. This includes freshman Bennett Hinkle, who is 6' tall and one of the team's top-scorers, and junior Seth Auble, who is 6'3" and a hoops veteran.
Hopes were high for the Buccaneers - who saw a major turnaround this year - when Valdez hit the court against Monroe Thursday.
However, the Rams managed to outscore Valdez in all four quarters of play, which ended with a Monroe victory, 65-33.
The team retained its hopes of securing a berth in to the championships as it met Galena Friday.
The Bucs won three out of four quarters and managed to overtake the Hawks in the end, 49-44.
Auble led the team's victory, with 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Hinkle contributed 11 points and four rebounds.
This set the stage for the team's second match against Monroe.
Despite a third quarter push, the Bucs were unable to overcome Monroe's momentum and the game went to the Rams, 56-45.
Hinkle sunk three 3-pointers during the game and contributed a game-high 21 points for the Buccaneers.