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Raiders Take On Hooper Bay, Nenana In First Round Of State Basketball Tournament

Berett Wilber/KUCB

Unalaska's basketball teams will start their quests for the state championship on Thursday.

The Raider boys (12-3) are entering the tournament as the top seed.

In the first round, they'll face Hooper Bay — a team they beat last year, 48-29.

"With tournament play, you've got to take it one game at a time, survive, and advance without letting kids think ahead," said Coach Riley Spetz.

Spetz also said tough defense and rebounding will be key for his team.

"We have some things we need to do better defensively to make sure that we can compete at a high level," he said. "We have to limit the other teams' offensive boards and their chances at the basket.

"That's one thing we didn't do great this last weekend [at the regional tournament]," he continued. "The teams we played got more chances at the basket."

If the boys beat Hooper Bay, they'll play the winner of the match-up between defending state champion Metlakatla and Unalakleet.

Meanwhile, the Raider girls (10-8) are taking on Nenana — a team that defeated them in the state tournament last year, 71-47.

Coach Casey Clausius said it'll be another tough contest against the Lynx. This year's squad looks a lot like last year's — with the addition of reigning 2A player of the year Sharon Hansen.

"We're going to have to make our shots when they count," said Clausius. "We're going to have to play some good defense, and I told the girls — the bench girls as well — 'You're important here.' 'When you get your chance, play to the best of your abilities and help each other out, because we're all a team and we can't do it without you.'"

If the Raider girls advance, they'll face the winner of the match-up between Wrangell and Unalakleet.

KUCB will broadcast both first-round games live on 89.7 FM on Thursday.

The boys take the court against Hooper Bay at 8 a.m., followed by the girls' game against Nenana at 11 a.m.

Zoë Sobel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2019. She returned to KUCB after a year living in Nepal and Malaysia as a Luce Scholar. She then returned to KUCB as a ProPublica reporter August of 2020 through August of 2021.
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