When Unalaska’s basketball teams returned from a long, demanding week of competition, they were met at the airport by Mayor Frank Kelty.
Kelty recognized the Raiders boys’ team for winning two consecutive tournaments, the Rally of the Regions in Anchorage in December and the Cordova Invitational Tournament in January. Carter Price earned special honors as the most valuable player in both tournaments.
Both varsity teams played hard last week, competing against four schools across Alaska. The Raiders' first stop was in Nome, where they squared off against the Nanooks. In their first game, the boys’ team came back from one point down at halftime to beat Nome, 54-37. They narrowly defeated the Nanooks the day with two last-second free throws.
The girls' team fought hard against Nome, but came up short in both games. Kiara Villamor led the first game with 10 points, while Hailey Wilson scored 12 to lead the second.
Their hard work paid off in Cordova, where the Raiders beat the 3A team from Ben Eielson High School, 51-37. Kayla Villamor led the team with 17 points. They played Cordova next and losing 48-54. Kayla and Kiara Villamor led the scoring with 17 and 12 points, respectively. At the end of the tournament, Kayla’s performance earned her a spot on the all-tournament team.
Meanwhile, the boys’ team swept the Cordova tournament, defeating Ben Eielson with a last-second two-pointer. Price (16 points), Matt Faoasau (11), and Trevor Wilson (8) led the scoring in the 41-39 victory.
The Raiders went on to beat Haines, 58-25. Wilson led the scoring with 21 points, followed by Price and Carey Boston with nine points each. They rounded out the tournament in a battle against Cordova, defeating the home team, 58-50. Wilson was the top scorer with 26 points, followed by Price and Faoasau with 14 each. The boys’ team walked away the winners of the 2017 Cordova Tip-Off Tournament, as Price and Wilson made the all-tournament team.
Boys’ Coach Kent Russell praised his team for their hard work.
"It's tough to play five games in six days with three of them against 3A teams, plus a day of travel,” he said. “The team showed resilience and grit to be able to compete even when tired. Now, their focus is to improve and find ways to work with each other to be successful."
Girls’ Coach Casey Clausius also felt good about the tournament.
“These games were nice to get under our belt, and it was nice to see positive growth, especially starting three freshmen, one sophomore, and one junior,” he said. “Even though they were competing in close games under short rest, it was nice to see what the girls are capable of on a daily basis. They played with inspiration, and I admire that."
See the Raiders play at home this weekend, Jan. 27-28, or tune in to the games live on 89.7 FM and Channel 8 TV.