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The Petersburg High School girls basketball team had come close over the years, but the Vikings just couldn't beat the Mount Edgecumbe Braves.
Until last weekend, when the Vikings swept a pair of games from the Braves at Mount Edgecumbe to hand the Braves their first Region V-Class 3A losses since the 1999-2000 season. Petersburg won 57-50 on Friday night and 47-37 on Saturday.
"We've been competitive with them the last four years, but we haven't been able to beat them," Petersburg coach Dino Brock said of his team's rivalry with Mount Edgecumbe. "We've had a couple go down to the buzzer, and we've lost a couple of leads. We had a couple of chances, but could never win. These were very competitive games and I'm real happy with the way we played."
Earlier this season, Mount Edgecumbe swept two close games in Petersburg - winning 33-31 on Jan. 17 and 44-40 on Jan. 18. That continued a Braves winning streak over the Vikings that included a 55-48 victory in the Region V-Class 3A championship game last year, plus three other games Mount Edgecumbe won by a combined 10 points. Karna Williams, a senior for Petersburg last year, said she graduated with an 0-20 record against Mount Edgecumbe.
But Mount Edgecumbe had a similar domination over the rest of the Region V-Class 3A teams. The Braves last lost to a region team during the fourth-sixth place game of the 2000 state tournament, when Wrangell upset Mount Edgecumbe 46-39. The Braves also lost to the Wolves once during the 1999-2000 regular season. Since then, the Braves had gone nearly three full seasons without a loss to a region team.
"Any time you can go to Mount Edgecumbe and win, it's a big confidence boost," Brock said. "They've been the class of the league for so long."
Petersburg broke Mount Edgecumbe's 41-game winning streak against region opponents on Friday, but it took a trio of fourth-quarter 3-pointers from junior point guard Tessa Bergmann to seal the victory. Bergmann, who'd only scored two points entering the fourth quarter, scored 11 of Petersburg's 17 points in the period to finish with 13 for the game.
"She's been one of our better shooters, percentage-wise, but she doesn't really shoot the ball much," Brock said of Bergmann. "She really stepped up and asserted herself."
Britni Birchell scored 15 points to lead the Vikings and Kayleigh Short added 13 on Friday, but Mount Edgecumbe coach Rich Calkins told the Daily Sitka Sentinel the game's crushing blows were Bergmann's 3-pointers. Petersburg led by three points entering the fourth quarter, but Mount Edgecumbe had rallied when Bergmann started hitting her 3-pointers.
"Those three 3-pointers were the difference in the game right there," Calkins told the Sentinel.
Ellie Jackson scored 14 points to lead Mount Edgecumbe on Friday, while Grace Stickman added 11 points before fouling out of the game, one of three Braves to foul out.
In Saturday's rematch, Short scored 18 points to lead Petersburg, which had to hold off a third-quarter rally by Mount Edgecumbe to complete the sweep. Birchell and Bergmann both scored 10 points for the Vikings. Ella Morris and Meredith Akaran scored 12 points apiece to lead the Braves, who trailed 25-18 at halftime but rallied to tie the score before Petersburg went on a run to take a 40-28 lead into the fourth quarter.
"We made the plays at the end of the game," Brock said. "They were both competitive games."
Petersburg completed its regular season with the victories, earning the top seed from the region's north division with the sweep. The Vikings and Braves were tied with 6-2 records in north division action, but a better point differential in head-to-head games meant the Vikings earned the top seed and first-round bye at the Region V-Class 3A tournament March 12-15 in Ketchikan.
Metlakatla, Wrangell girls series canceled
The two-game Region V-Class 3A girls basketball series between the Metlakatla Misschiefs and the Wrangell Wolves last weekend was canceled due to funeral services in Wrangell for the victims of last week's murder-suicide that killed four people.
Since Metlakatla is scheduled to play a non-conference series against Ketchikan this weekend, the last weekend of the season, the two games will not be made up, Wrangell athletic director Ed Garrison said. Metlakatla will be the second seed from the region's south division at the region tournament, while Wrangell will be the third seed from the south division.
Petersburg boys sweep Mount Edgecumbe
Kyle Skinner scored 25 points even though he didn't play in the fourth quarter as the Petersburg boys basketball team beat the Mount Edgecumbe Braves 86-49 on Friday in Petersburg. On Saturday, the Vikings completed the sweep of the two-game Region V-Class 3A series with a 75-49 victory over the Braves, who lost several starters for the rest of the season due to disciplinary reasons.
In Friday's game, Jon Randrup and Bryce Covington both scored 13 points, with Covington's all coming in the fourth quarter, and Jeb Phillips added 11 for Petersburg, which had every player score points except 6-foot-8 center and team captain Aaron Severson. Matt Mercier scored 18 points to lead Mount Edgecumbe, while Alan Ticket added 13 points.
On Saturday, Phillips scored 17 points to lead the Vikings, while Severson added 16 points and Randrup scored 11. Ticket scored 28 points to lead the Braves, while Mercier added nine points.
Metlakatla boys sweep Wrangell
The shots rained in from downtown as Chris Bryant hit nine 3-pointers and scored a game-high 34 points on Wednesday to lead the Metlakatla boys basketball team to a 68-55 victory over the Wrangell Wolves. On Thursday, Bryant scored 25 points to lead the Chiefs to a 59-54 victory and a sweep of the two-game Region V-Class 3A series in Metlakatla.
In Wednesday's game, Shane Martinez added 12 points and Beau Hayward scored nine for the Chiefs. Tony Marriott led Wrangell with 21 points, while Woody Woodworth added 12 points and Michael Villarma scored 10.
On Thursday, Beau Hayward scored 11 points and Bryan Hayward added eight for Metlakatla, which trailed 40-39 entering the fourth quarter. Woodworth scored 18 points to lead Wrangell, while Marriott added 12 points and Villarma scored 10.
Yakutat, Hoonah boys split
Bailey Johnson scored 34 points on Friday as the Yakutat boys basketball team claimed a 65-58 victory over the Hoonah Braves in Hoonah. But in Saturday's rematch, the Braves held the Eagles to just five points in the fourth quarter to win 43-36 and earn a split of the two-game Region V-Class 2A series.
In Friday's game, Johnson scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter as Yakutat broke a 49-49 tie entering the period and pulled out the victory. Ben Dunbar added 11 points for the Eagles. Dustin Bowen scored 18 points to lead Hoonah, while Brion Mills and Sean Kveum added 13 points each and Gerard White scored 10 points.
On Saturday, Bowen scored seven of his game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter as the Braves broke a 31-31 tie entering the period. Mills added eight points for Hoonah. Johnson scored 12 points to lead Yakutat, while Dunbar chipped in seven points.
Hoonah girls sweep Yakutat
The Hoonah girls basketball team used a stingy defense to win its first Region V-Class 2A game of the season on Friday, holding the Yakutat Eagles to just four points in the first quarter and one in the third as the Braves claimed a 39-21 victory. On Saturday, the Braves completed the series sweep in Hoonah with a 42-33 victory.
In Friday's game, Branda Skaflestad scored 10 points to lead Hoonah, while Amy Wright added eight points and Kristi Skaflestad chipped in seven. Hannah Esbenshade scored eight points and Ashton Schmidt added six for Yakutat, which trailed 33-13 entering the fourth quarter.
On Saturday, Wright led the Braves with 13 points, while Augustine Hinchman scored 12 points and Branda Skaflestad added 11. Esbenshade scored 18 points to lead the Eagles, who had no other players score more than four points.
Kake boys, girls sweep Angoon
The Kake boys and girls basketball teams each swept a two-game Region V-Class 2A series from the Angoon Eagles last Friday and Saturday in Angoon, but scores weren't available from any of the games due to a misplaced scorebook.
The Juneau Empire's Southeast Hoops Roundup is compiled once a week by the Empire sports staff. Southeast varsity basketball coaches are reminded to get their scoresheets faxed over to the Empire (1-907-586-3028) or to e-mail the leading scorers and game highlights to email@example.com by noon on Monday so the feature can run in Wednesday's or Thursday's sports sections.