The Unalaska Raiders are back in action Friday as they begin their bids for state.
Both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are entering the Southwest Conference 2A Regional Tournament as top seeds, with byes in the first round.
"We’re fairly deep," said Boys' Coach Kent Russell. "The team has pretty lofty goals."
The boys' squad went 14-1 in the regular season. But after falling to fifth place at state last year, Russell said they're looking for redemption.
"Some of the boys feel like they didn’t quite achieve what they wanted last year," he said. "They’re a little more motivated to get back to the state tournament and then make a run once we get there."
The girls’ team has similar motivation. Last season, they missed a state berth by just a few points.
"You could taste it," said Girls' Coach Casey Clausius. "We were that close to getting our state appearance, which we haven’t done in quite a long time."
Clausius said his team has trained hard to put themselves in a position to break that streak. This year, they posted a regular season record of 10-5.
"We’ve invested our time," he said. "We have a chance at possibly doing a little more damage this year."
The Raider boys play first Friday at 6 p.m., followed by the girls at 7:30 p.m. Each team will take on Bristol Bay or Dillingham, depending on which school wins Thursday's first-round contest.
The Raiders can clinch state berths Friday night. But if they lose, they’ll have a second chance to qualify Saturday.
Unalaskans can catch the games by listening to 89.7 FM. KUCB will broadcast the live call from Anchorage.