The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team will face a familiar foe to open the Class 4A girls state tournament next week.
The Crimson Bears (18-6 overall), who qualified for state at last weekend's region tournament, will play North Pole in the opening round of the state tourney on March 31 at Anchorage's Sullivan Arena. Game times have not been announced.
Juneau played North Pole twice during the regular season. The Crimson Bears, state runners-up last season, trounced the Patriots 76-46 in January at an Anchorage tournament, but last month Juneau blew an early lead against North Pole and lost 54-53 on the Patriots' home court.
"We're most excited to get North Pole," Juneau coach Lesslie Knight said about the state matchup. "We're out for a little revenge."
The other Class 4A girls matchups are Chugiak vs. Colony, Service vs. Homer and Wasilla vs. defending champion Dimond. Wasilla is the state's top-ranked team in the latest Alaska Sportswriters poll. Perennial powerhouse East Anchorage - the state's second-ranked team - failed to make the state tournament for the second straight year.
Southeast Class 4A boys champion Ketchikan will play second-ranked Colony in the opening round of the state tourney. Colony is familiar to Juneau fans, since the Knights swept a series in Juneau during the regular season - including a double-overtime game.
Other Class 4A boys matchups are top-ranked, defending champion West Anchorage vs. Kodiak, West Valley vs. East Anchorage and Bartlett vs. Wasilla.
In Class 3A boys state tourney play, Southeast Class 3A champion and second-ranked Mount Edgecumbe opens against Anchorage Christian Schools, while Southeast runner-up Petersburg plays top-ranked Heritage Christian. The other matchups are Barrow vs. Eielson and Monroe Catholic vs. Kotzebue. Valdez, the defending champion, did not make the field.
Southeast Class 3A girls champion and second-ranked Mount Edgecumbe will open the state tourney against Seward, while region runner-up Petersburg faces Nikiski. Top-ranked defending champion Monroe Catholic will play Barrow and Dillingham faces Valdez in the other first-round games.