Lady Angels cap magical season with 40-34 win over Nenana Lynx in championship game Saturday in Anchorage.
KDLG: The Lady Angels from Bristol came out of the 2A tournament the same as they went in: number one. Their 40-34 win over the Nenana Lynx, a hard fought victory, capped a magical season that began with a telling rout at Rally the Regions in December.
"It still hasn't really sunken in. It is amazing for the girls to come through," head coach Heath Lyon offered Monday.
Bristol Bay missed out on state glory last year when they finished as runners up to Petersburg in a decisive 43-34 championship game. That defeat motivated this year's squad.
"They put in a lot of hard work from last year when they came up a little short," said coach Lyon. "They put in the extra work and it paid off."
Sharon Hansen led all scoring in Saturday's title game, putting 13 points on the board and pulling down five rebounds. She was five-for-twelve from the field, and knocked down one-of-four attempts from behind the three point arc. Despite a persistent illness, Rylie Lyon put nine on the board, and Anna Hansen and Denali Moorcoft contributed eight each.
Bristol Bay cruised past Chevak in their tournament opener, with both Hansens adding 22 each towards the 73-30 final. In the semifinals Friday, Glenallen surged in the second half and nearly caught the Angels first half lead. Tight shooting by Lyon and the Hansens helped the Angels hold on for the 43-39 win.
On Saturday, the Lady Angels jumped out a few points ahead of the Nenana Lynx early, but the victory was never guaranteed. Going into halftime, Bristol Bay was only up by two. In the third quarter they began to pull away, and coach Lyon says he started to believe this might indeed be their year.
"We hit a shot to go up by eleven, and right there I felt pretty confident going into the fourth quarter because we took the air out of the ball."
Coaching a team to the state championship is a special feeling, Lyon said, and the players deserve all the praise for the way they persevered all season.
"Even the games we lost, we were in the game, competing with the 3As and that stuff. They fought hard every game. There were times when they were sick and whatnot and they fought through it."
The Lady Angels will graduate a few key players this spring, but Lyon believes the team is already looking to get back on the winner's podium again next year.
"We have go to defend our title now," Lyon says. "We've got our work cut our for us now. We did lose two great seniors. If they put in all the time and work again I think we've got a shot."
It was Bristol Bay's first 2A title since 2005, when assistant coach Danica Wilson was a member of the team.
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