Rookies Defeat Raiders In Unexpected Rematch In Unalaska

Jan 29, 2019

Within an hour of being invited to play the Raiders, the Rookies had caught a flight from their hometown of King Cove (pictured) to Cold Bay. They later hopped another plane to Unalaska.
Credit Berett Wilber / KUCB

Unalaska's girls' basketball team (1-6) expected to host Sand Point over the weekend.

But when the Eagles canceled their trip Friday morning – just hours before the game – the home contests were thrown into doubt.

After some quick legwork, the Unalaska City School District found another opponent to fly out and compete.

King Cove's basketball (10-0) team thought Jan. 25 was going to be a normal Friday. Players expected to have the weekend off. But a phone call around 9 a.m. changed that.

Jalaya Doarte was at the dentist getting a filling.

"I kept getting calls and I had to keep declining them," said Doarte. "Then [my teammate Elaina Mack] texted me, and I lifted my phone up. She told me we were leaving and I was like, 'Oh gosh, I don't have that much time here!'"

The dentist hustled to get Doarte back to school.

That's where another player — Bethany Brandell — arrived to learn that she had five minutes to pack.

"They didn't even tell me where I was going or what I was doing," said Brandell. "They just said, 'Go home and pack. You have five minutes to get to the airport.' I went home, packed, and I forgot my black jersey on my bed. Then I hurried up, ran out the door, and the plane actually left without us. He turned around, came back, and landed."

Within an hour, the Rookies had caught a flight to Cold Bay, then hopped another plane to Unalaska.

The team was excited to play the Raiders again. Unalaska had traveled up the chain to start the season in early January, and King Cove won those games handily. The Rookies took the first 74-49, with Mack outscoring the entire Raider squad with 50 points.

"They're like the best competition we've had yet this season," said Mack. "We haven't played many teams, but it's fun playing them."

"I agree," said Doarte. "It's really fun, because they're a really aggressive team like us. It gives us a challenge."

The short notice for last weekend's contests wasn't a problem for King Cove Coach Gary Lamar. He said his team had one game plan: nonstop full court pressure.

"Back in Texas, we have a saying: You dance with the girl who brung you there," said Lamar. "You don't change around. You stick with the same thing, so that's what we did. It was a lot of fun. I'll tell you this, though: This bunch [in Unalaska], they've got a great team. They're going to go somewhere."

Still, King Cove swept the Raiders in two close contests. On Friday, the Rookies won 55-40. Saturday was a higher-scoring affair for both teams, with King Cove coming back from a first half deficit to win 61-47.

The undefeated Rookies will be back on the road Tuesday for a three-week campaign with games in Dillingham and Anchorage. The team said they take one long trip a year because travel is so difficult.

Meanwhile, Unalaska's varsity boys' basketball team was off last weekend, while the junior varsity squad traveled to Sand Point for two games. On Friday, the Raiders fell to Sand Point, 76-67. On Saturday, the team rallied but couldn't quite pull off the win, falling to the Eagles, 58-57.

Unalaska's losses do not count towards the team's overall record (3-2), because they were JV games.

The boys' and girls' varsity teams are back on the road this week for the Seward Invitational. Check KUCB's Facebook page for a schedule of games that'll be broadcast live.