Two sentences can sum up the Homecoming basketball weekend between the Lady Wolves and Petersburg’s Lady Vikings, which began last Friday night. Friday was a night of high drama. Saturday was a game of strenuous play.
After tipoff, and for the first quarter of action on Friday, the Wrangell squad played decisively and with speed – racking up a 23-13 halftime lead off a show stopping performance by the duo of Kayla Rooney and Alyssa Allen. The pair put up a combined 13 points and shot better than 50 percent from the line. Allen wasn’t done, though, and her best performance would come later in the game.
As the second half began, however, the wheels began to fall off the Lady Wolves well-oiled machine.
After being outscored 15-10 by Petersburg, the Lady Wolves’ head coach, Dane Vincent, rallied his players and mounted a strenuous effort at holding onto his team’s lead.
“We got together and talked about playing a lot harder than we had been,” Vincent said. “They were attacking us on the floor a little more, so we knew we had to get it together.”
The Lady Wolves slowed a little in the 3rd period, with confusion setting in and Petersburg taking full advantage of the lull in Wrangell offense and defense. Petersburg was also far more aggressive in attacking the home team’s set on the floor.
Sophomore Darien Meissner obviously picked up on what coach Vincent told them in earlier huddles and during the half break as she made a number of steals that led to Wrangell staying in the game – despite Petersburg’s in-your-face level of play.
In the 3rd period, Allen nailed a three-pointer and helped keep the Lady Wolves up 33-28. That was when Petersburg turned up the heat.
As the 4th period progressed the Lady Vikings first tied up the score courtesy of a tit-for-tat between Katie Wallace and Wrangell’s Meissner, though Petersburg went ahead 46-45 with 15 seconds remaining.
And then the crowd went wild.
Allen, who led the squad with 14 points in the game, then took a dish from Meissner and took her best shot with five ticks left on the clock – sinking it – and putting the Lady Wolves up by a final score of 47-46.
After the game, Petersburg head coach Dino Brock gave credit to the Wrangell team for their level of play, even though it was a loss for his squad.
“Wrangell played hard and we played hard,” Brock said. “We started out pretty slow and hard to work our way back. I think we did a good job. It was just unfortunate at the end.”
Brock also spoke about what he told his team at the half to spur them on.
“We talked about playing harder,” he added. “We didn’t make a lot of changes other than playing more aggressively.”
Coach Vincent added that the concept of team play led to the Wrangell victory.
“We got it back together and it led to the trading of leads we had in the last 40 seconds,” Vincent said. “At fifteen seconds we were down one and Darian received the ball, and she was looking for someone. She turned, pivoted and found Alyssa who took it and went up for it, making the winning shot. Darian was doing the right thing and looking for anyone she could and it worked out.”
The Saturday night matchup was just as much of a defensive and offensive push for the Lady Wolves, though with the final game between the girls’ squads being a more decisive win for Wrangell than on Friday night as they cruised to a 35-26 victory.
Allen once again put out a stellar effort with 12 points for the night, and included going 8-for-14 in free throws. Her appearance at the line so often was a result of the tenuous defense put up against her by Petersburg’s double team duo of Kyla Willis and Kylie Wallace.
Another great offensive output for the Lady Wolves came from MiKayla Stokes, who had a trio of buckets and shot 75 percent from the line. Erica Smith was the hack artist for the Wrangell team who, while putting up 2 points of her own, managed to collect three fouls in a strong, attacking defensive style.
Petersburg was aggressive defensively too, with Sierra Streuli, Ruby Brock and Fran Abbott all going after the Lady Wolves with verve and more than a few steals and hacks. And where Friday night was the night for treys on both sides of the court, neither team was able to kick into downtown mode and was relegated to buckets and free throws for each.
Wallace led the Lady Vikings on Saturday night with 10 points, followed closely by Grace Weller with nine of her own.
The next games for the Lady Wolves will be this weekend at Metlakatla.