ANCHORAGE - Yakutat successfully continued its march toward a second-straight Class 2A state girls basketball title Wednesday at Anchorage's Sullivan Arena.
The Eagles routed the Chevak Comets 61-30 in the Alaska School Activities Association Class 2A State Basketball Championship Tournament semifinals.
The Eagles took an early 6-0 lead and full-court pressed their way to a 12-3 first-quarter spread. Yakutat continued its torrid shooting as its lead swelled to 29-13 at halftime.
The sister shows of Rose and Katrina Fraker and Esther and Ellen Esbenshade proved the difference in the contest.
"Our team really pulls together and encourages one another," Rose Fraker said. "This has been our season goal, to get back into the state championship game. And Katrina has really stepped up for us."
Rose Fraker scored a game-high 20 points with six 3-pointers. She also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, had five assists and five steals.
Rose's sister Katrina, who scored eight points, stepped up at point guard for Yakutat. She took over for Heidi Esbenshade, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Juneau earlier this season. With Katrina Fraker handling the ball and Rose Fraker spotting up for 3s, the remaining Esbenshade sisters helped orchestrate the full-court press.
Halftime gave little rest for the Comets as Yakutat continued to press and score, extending its lead to 46-23 after three quarters.
"State play is a lot more physical than Southeast," Eagles forward Sharnel Vale said. "We didn't adjust the first night very well, but we really stayed calm tonight and got after it. Tomorrow we will try to do it one more time."
Esther Esbenshade and Lorena Williams added seven points apiece, Justyne Wheeler had six, Ellen Esbenshade scored four and Cherise Ryman hit a free throw.
Misty Olson led the Comets with 11 points.
"I can't complain," Yakutat coach Joe Klushkan said. "I was very happy with how we played. We came out really loose."
The Eagles will play the Ninilchik Wolverines for the state title at 7:15 p.m. tonight at the Sullivan Arena. Ninilchik has won eight of the last 11 state titles.
Yakutat routed Ninilchik 70-25 last December, though Klushkan admits his team didn't see the Wolverines at full strength that night.
"They were still in changing over from the volleyball season," Klushkan said. "They didn't have their whole squad. They are a completely different team now. We respect them and definitely don't take them for granted."
CLASS 2A GIRLS CONSOLATION ROUND
Northway 41, Kake 37
Kake held tight throughout the game but came up just short against Northway in the Class 2A girls basketball state championship tournament on Wednesday in Anchorage.
The scored was tied 19-19 at the half, and Northway led 29-28 after three quarters.
Nicole Wooton led the Thunderbirds with 18 points, 12 rebounds and five steals. Taneal Alsup had eight points and seven boards, Jovanne Friday and Paulette Aceveda tallied four points each, while Charley Johnson and Jasmine Howard scored two points each in the loss.
Shanice Albert led Northway with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Katherine Albert had 12 points and six boards.
CLASS 2A BOYS CONSOLATION ROUND
Tri-Valley 51, Hoonah 42
Tri-Valley eliminated Hoonah from the Class 2A boys basketball state championship tournament on Wednesday in Anchorage.
The Braves' Charles Carteeti led his team with 12 points and five rebounds.
Greggory White had six points and seven boards, Brandin Hill posted 10 points and six rebounds, Kristian Geise scored seven points, while Wilbur Lindoff posted six points in the loss.
Ben Renshaw led Tri-Valley with 24 points and 16 rebounds.
Noorvik 64, Angoon 41
John Croasmun scored 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for Angoon in a loss to Noorvik on Wednesday in Anchorage. The loss ended the Eagles' season.
William Silva had seven points, Nathan See scored six points, Michael Howard posted four points, Kendrick Demmert had three points and Ed Jack scored two points in defeat.
Justin Williams and Will Zibell had 14 points each for Noorvik while Tim Field added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
TUESDAY'S LATE GAME
CLASS 2A GIRLS QUARTERFINALS
Yakutat 43, Cook Inlet Academy 27
Yakutat, the defending Class 2A state champions, rallied from a 19-10 halftime deficit to beat Cook Inlet Academy on Tuesday at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
The Eagles outscored CIA 33-8 in the second half.
Esther Esbenshade posted 15 points to led Yakutat in scoring while Rose Fraker had 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Sharnel Vale scored six points to go with five rebounds, Justyne Wheeler had five points, while Katrina Fraker, Lorena Williams and Ellen Esbenshade had two points each.
Amie Smithwick led Cook Inlet with 12 points.