Controlled and confident, Fort Yukon girls win their first-ever 1A state basketball title

Fort Yukon Girls Clinch First-Ever 1A State Basketball Championship with Controlled, Confident Performance

In a thrilling display of skill and determination, the Fort Yukon girls basketball team, under the guidance of Coach Joshua Cadzow, embraced the principles of control and confidence to secure their first-ever Alaska 1A girls basketball championship. The event unfolded at the Alaska Airlines Center, where the Eagles faced off against Newhalen, clinching a memorable victory with a score of 62-51.

Coach Cadzow shared his pride in the team’s performance, emphasizing their poise and unwavering confidence throughout the tournament. Despite being considered underdogs, the Eagles demonstrated their prowess by consistently winning tournaments and showcasing their talent against formidable opponents.

The game against the Malemutes, a team known for their history of success and two state titles in the previous four seasons, was a testament to Fort Yukon’s strategic play. From the outset, the Eagles established a commanding lead, setting the tone for the rest of the match.

Kylee Carroll, a standout player for Fort Yukon, contributed significantly to the victory with 19 points, following the coach’s advice to maintain their level of play and focus on teamwork. The Eagles’ ability to lead at halftime, despite Newhalen’s efforts to close the gap, was crucial. Nellie Ward led the scoring in the first half, helping to offset the turnovers with a strong rebounding performance.

As the game progressed, Newhalen’s signature pressure defense momentarily shifted the momentum, tying the game in the third quarter. However, Fort Yukon’s resilience shone through as they regained and maintained their lead, a reflection of their strategic adaptability and mental toughness.

The Eagles’ victory was a collective effort, with significant contributions from a young and talented roster. Four sophomores, including Nellie Ward, Carroll, Jane Ward, and Jewel Mahler, were instrumental in securing the win, showcasing the depth and future potential of the team.

The final moments of the game were a display of strategic brilliance, with Coach Cadzow urging his team to increase the pressure and secure the championship. This decisive move exemplified the team’s ability to adapt and overcome challenges, a hallmark of their championship run.

Newhalen’s performance, led by Analeigh Wassillie and Ida Lester, was commendable, but the day belonged to Fort Yukon. The victory not only marked a significant milestone for the team but also ignited joy and pride within the community, eagerly awaiting their champions’ return.

The Alaska Airlines Center bore witness to a remarkable tournament, culminating in Fort Yukon’s historic win. The Eagles’ journey to the championship, characterized by skill, teamwork, and strategic acumen, will be remembered as a defining moment in Alaska 1A girls basketball history.