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HomeSportPrep Hoops: NLC flexes strength with 3 girls teams garnering first-place votes...

Prep Hoops: NLC flexes strength with 3 girls teams garnering first-place votes in ASR/Class 4A Coaches Poll; East boys unanimous #1

Wasilla’s Savannah Kroon holds the ball as Colony’s Morgan Ainsworth closes. Photo by Bruce Eggleston/MatSu Sports

All three of the top high school girls basketball teams in Alaska call the Northern Lights Conference home and things are about as close as you’d think they’d be going into the final week of the regular season.

Mountain City Christian Academy, Colony and Wasilla are separated by a half-game.

One voter in the Alaska Sports Report/Class 4A Coaches Poll didn’t know who to pick for the top spot among the three teams and asked if all three could be selected No. 1.

The answer was no, but they weren’t the only coach who had trouble ranking the Big 3. There is a sliver of difference between them, with any one of them capable of beating the other on any given day.

That’s why all three teams received multiple first-place votes.

Ultimately, MCCA (18-1) garnered 10 of the 14 first-place votes and 66 points to retain its No. 1 ranking for the third straight week. Colony (20-2) and Wasilla (15-4) each got two first-place votes.

Alaska Sports Report/Class 4A Girls Coaches Poll

RANK TEAM POINTS
1 MCCA (18-1) 66
2 Colony (21-2) 53
3 Wasilla (15-4) 49
4 Dimond (19-5) 23
5 Thunder Mountain (18-3) 16

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Service 2; Juneau-Douglas 1.

On Tuesday, No. 1 MCCA hosts No. 3 Wasilla in a rematch of their Feb. 2 meeting in Wasilla, where the Warriors beat the Lions 47-32 to end MCCA’s 133-game winning streak against in-state competition.

On Friday, Wasilla hosts No. 2 Colony as it looks to bounce back from losing the first matchup 65-52 on Feb. 6 in Palmer.

MCCA and Wasilla are tied atop the NLC at 7-1, with No. 2 Colony a half-game back at 7-2.

The Big 3 has a combined record of 54-7, with their only defeats coming at the hands of a Lower 48 opponent or each other. MCCA has two wins over Colony, which has two wins over Wasilla, which is the only team in Alaska to beat MCCA in six years.

The rest of the prep poll saw Dimond stay at No. 4 and Thunder Mountain No. 5.

Alaska Sports Report/Class 4A Boys Coaches Poll

RANK TEAM POINTS
1 East Anchorage (21-1) 80
2 West Valley (18-3) 59
3 Service (17-7) 49
4 West Anchorage (14-7) 24
5 Monroe Catholic (17-5) 10

ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Thunder Mountain 8; Dimond 8; Colony 1; Juneau-Douglas 1.

On the boys side, East received all 16 first-place votes to earn its third straight unanimous No. 1 ranking.

The T-birds (21-1) have won 12 games in a row to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Cook Inlet Conference Tournament. They will conclude the regular season with road games at surging Dimond and No. 4 West.

Second-ranked West Valley (18-3) had a busy 4-0 week that included a sweep of the Mat-Su Valley with victories over Palmer, Wasilla and Colony.

The Wolfpack earned 59 points in the poll, 10 more than Service, which leapfrogged West for the No. 3 spot. The Eagles fell to No. 4 while Monroe Catholic stayed at No. 5.

West Valley coach Colten Growden tries to get his team’s attention on the sideline. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

The Rams (17-5) earned 10 points to edge Thunder Mountain (16-9) and Dimond (14-8) for that fifth spot.

Monroe and West Valley split their regular-season home and home and the Rams lead the Wolfpack by a half-game in the Mid-Alaska Conference standings coming down the stretch.

“Two well coached teams that are always ready to play,” said North Pole coach Travis Church. “Adding Monroe to 4A has really boosted the MAC.”

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